The sound of the pressure cooker was loud and clear, disrupting Sarita’s call with her team. Anant, on the other side of the room, was being tugged by their child to play with him. The stress was evident on their faces while they made efforts to adjust to the demands of the ‘lockdown’.
This situation is not too different from everyone else’s in these trying times. COVID-19 has left us all with defining a ‘new normal’ in our everyday lives. The lockdown has been a revelation and is teaching us things that would last a lifetime. It has brought forward our best and worst traits, and we are learning to face the challenges that are being thrown our way.
While as working professionals and homemakers, we grapple with this situation, the bigger challenge is the demands of parenting that have bowled over parents like you in these circumstances. This may include disciplining your children, entertaining them, and keeping them engaged day after day. Children require constant attention and care and any slack on your part makes you question if you are doing effective parenting or not.
Here are six lockdown lessons that you can teach your children to create the best of times within the comforts of your home.
Make and keep a routine for a healthy lifestyle
The old routines of going to school, work and all, have now been replaced with visits from the bedroom to the hall to the kitchen, and, perhaps, the garden. It becomes a necessity to make more conscious decisions to keep a healthy lifestyle. Involving children in making a simple breakfast or getting them to move with you when you exercise are a few things that can be followed. Simple things like these help them learn healthy habits and practising these together will improve the family bond.
Do a good deed and get a reward
While adopting healthy habits is important, moving through life with grace and gratitude is also crucial. You can inculcate the habits of practising gratitude and kindness by implementing this little hack. Any chore or activity that is completed by your child can earn them a reward. You can appreciate them with either cash or kind or a simple paper badge that reaffirms their correct behaviour and approach to doing activities the right way. Building the habit of doing the right thing early on, especially when you can closely monitor their behaviour will help you raise kind and contented individuals. This lesson will encourage your children to share their reward with someone else or keep it for something special.
Do It Yourself (DIY) Lockdown Project(s)
We are all learning to be self-sufficient during these testing times. Why not extend those lessons to your children? The opportunity to kickstart a new lockdown project can help them learn to be independent and proactive in dealing with the changing times. You can help them start their little garden, or upcycle their old toys or simply get them to create a journal of what the lockdown means to them. Also, have them create a vision board about what they would like to do next, once they can be outdoors. This can serve as your fun time playtime with your children, while they learn self-sufficiency and the importance of teamwork. Create a space where both of you will learn, explore, and grow together.
Let them take charge
Your primary responsibility as a parent is to keep your child safe and meet their every said and unsaid need. While this may seem like the best move, it may not benefit them in the long run. You need to step back and once in a while and let them handle situations under your guidance and see how they cope. After all, they will eventually leave your nest to chart their paths, and you must know you prepared them well. As an exercise to nurture them, you can allot one day in the week or as per your convenience and get your child to run the whole show around the house. You can set guidelines, and everything can be done as per their liking. This will teach them responsibility and expose them to the challenges that you face as an adult daily. It could begin with meal planning, activities that you do as a family, and even get them to pay bills under your watchful eye. This will break the monotony of routine and will get both the parties excited to try and experiment while having fun.
Keep their curiosity alive
They say ‘curiosity killed the cat.’ But the true statement is ‘ignorance killed the cat and curiosity was blamed’. Children are innately curious and as parents keeping this going is important. Several exciting things have come to the fore with this lockdown, and you can decide which ones serve your children’s curiosity the best. One is the old-school habit of reading aloud. Storytimes are fun and several publishers have started podcasts for children for these times. You can also plan treasure hunts or create sensory bins, etc. for your child. Some museums and national parks have initiated virtual tours which you can take with your child, helping them satiate their curiosity while their safety and well-being isn’t compromised. Adopt the motto of ‘keep learning’ and watch both of you grow, learn, and explore.
A child’s play
Conversations can run dry if you have the same old stories to share. Make it exciting by introducing role plays or swap your role with your child and see what they have to say to you if you were their child. You could also get them to give or conduct interviews of their favourite real or fictional characters. This fun activity would prove to be crucial in improving their communication skills and make you aware of their development. Building your child’s communication skills during the lockdown, where interaction with their peers is limited, needs your intervention. A simple make-believe interaction could open your eyes to their dreams, plans about the future, and whatever may be troubling their young souls. Communication gives you insight into your parenting skills and how your child is developing and dealing with this global crisis.
While lockdown has made parenting a lot more challenging, we hope that these simple lessons will help you find your new parenting normal. Any lesson learnt well is a feather in our cap. With our exclusive section for parents being launched with this blog, we look forward to connecting with you and knowing your thoughts.
We officially welcome you to our latest segment – ‘Parent Plus’, where we will share parenting 101s and also listen to what you have to say. So, here’s to our new beginnings. Parenting in lockdown and beyond.
Mariam Taqui Ali (pro tip: the middle name is pronounced tuh-key) A Word slayer, pluviophile, baker, traveller; among other things, knows the correct usage of punctuation and the difference between your and you're. She spent some time (read a lot of time) writing, editing and keeping track of word counts. Her trysts with writing and editing has led her to interact with experts from diverse industries like healthcare, wellness, HR, business and technology. Having experienced all that, she continues her professional explorations, to learn, to grow and to be a value add. Drop in a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you liked her stories, have something nice to say, or if you have compelling ideas to share!
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