I am a mother of a 6-year-old girl. Initially, when the pandemic started I was not too worried about my daughter missing her school. As at that time survival was the most important part of the crisis. But time flew and COVID 19 became a part of our lives.
Children have become quite techno-savvy and adapted to the new environment of studying digitally, talking to their friends online and even participating in the events online. I’m quite of this generation who have molded themselves perfectly to the changing conditions. But when I think about all they have lost right from having interaction with their friends, knowing and talking to their teachers, taking part in simple school activities right from daily exercises to Sports and Annual Day. I feel they have suffered a great loss in terms of their holistic development. At times I was genuinely concerned for this gap that children all over the world are facing.
On giving this a lot of thought instead of having negative thoughts, I decided why not adapt ourselves to this dynamic environment. Being a parent it is our job to provide our children with the right guidance for their overall development. I am not an expert but I ‘am just writing these articles as there will be a lot of parents like me who will be thinking the same things as me. So I will just share with you what I did so that my daughter would not miss a lot of her school-going experience.
- Inculcated physical exercise in her routine.
COVID 19 has shown us the importance of a healthy body. So I tried to have a routine where at least some form of exercise was a part of my daughters daily routine. Initially, she was quite interested in animal yoga so I tried that with her for some time. But as children get bored easily. I tried other forms like normal kids workouts for a few days, learning dancing online for quite some time which she enjoyed a lot. She was already riding her bicycle in the evenings which was a bonus.
- Family time is a must.
Everyone is working from home nowadays but it too gets hectic. And the children get bored easily and keep on interrupting us during meetings and discussions. So we tried to have dinner together and later spent a lot of time with her playing board games, blindfold, carrom, ludo, etc. These games help them develop their logical as well as spatial abilities. Even simply drawing with her made her happy and even help me relax after a long tiresome day.
- Enjoyed doing different crafts.
As my daughter likes doing different things, we made a lot of crafts together. At this age, they like cutting things, which she did but under my supervision. Creating some simple paper bunnies, flowers or even paper boats brought a smile to her face. When they do this they also get a sense of achievement and their creative skills are developed. Let them make a mess of paper or colors, but in the end, the result will be worth it.
- Had open conversations with her.
A young child may not know how to express her feelings. She may be feeling stressed or cranky even curious. So I encouraged her to ask questions and I tried to answer as many as possible. I got some weird ones too like: Where am I during your wedding rituals?
If God is everywhere and in everyone why do you kill mosquitoes? And so many others. I could not answer half of the mind well.
- Tried a get together with at least one of the friends when it was safe.
Children do not enjoy playing with us as much as they do with their age kids or friends. So when it was safe and my whole family is vaccinated. I tried to arrange a get together so that she could play with her friends and have some fun together. But please take care that all the parties meeting together are vaccinated and not showing any symptoms.
These were just a few things that I have done with my daughter so that her mind, as well as physical health, stay healthy. Apart from these we plant different seeds and then she is responsible to water them and watch their growth, we tried doing Rangolis and made a beautiful mess but enjoyed them thoroughly. I played hopscotch and all my childhood games with her. COVID has made us closer to our families but it has also laid down a lot of tragedy and devastation in the lives of many people.
I pray every day to God for keeping my family healthy and to help people suffering through these tough times. These are not the next-gen solutions but simple activities that will cure your child of boredom and watching T.V. and instill some routine and creativity in your child.
If you have tried something like this with your child do let me know in the comments.
-Nidhi Parth Inamdar.