In the current context, the definition of normal has changed completely. If you had asked me a year ago, the normal would be kids going to school and doing homework at home. But today, home has become their new school. It has been almost 2 months since schools have been closed, but learning for kids has not stopped, thanks to technology. There are multiple apps and websites through which kids can continue studying. However, it’s not just about the tools and apps, part of learning is also about adapting to change. Here is where the role of parents becomes crucial in helping kids get accustomed to the change.

Kids have been away from their peers, they are unable to go out and play and too much exposure to screen time, all this adds up to their anxiety. They become cranky and often have mood swings. In such a situation when you ask them to study, there is definitely going to be some backlash from them. Hence, as studying from home becomes the new normal for the time being, parents all around are finding it difficult to cope up with the same. In this blog, I will suggest some essential tips and tricks to help you seamlessly facilitate kid’s education at home.

1.   Chalk out a plan

Have you observed that all schools follow a routine? They have a good combination of extra-curricular, games and regular subjects as a part of their routine. The reason why schools follow such routine is for two reasons. First, kids get bored with the similar routine every day and need a good combination of curricular and extra-curricular activities and secondly, this ensures their holistic development.

Hence, this model needs to be replicated at home. You cannot recreate the exact school environment, but you sure can keep children focused by establishing a proper routine. Children follow a fixed schedule at school, hence recreating a similar environment at home will make the transition easier for them.

Don’t let kids go-off their daily routine. Ensure they follow their regular sleep timings and regular meal timings. All these will help kids smoothly transition into studying at home, without too many complaints.

2.   Hygiene

With the virus here to stay, hygiene for kids is of utmost importance. One of the positives this lockdown is that you are getting extra time to help kids to adapt to new hygiene practices. Once schools decide to re-open, kids need to be well-equipped to follow these new practices. Hence, first of all, talk to kids about the virus in simple words. For e.g. there is a monster that is around and we all can defeat him if we follow a few steps. Explain the importance of wearing a face mask, you can tell him, to fight the monster, the mask is the gear that superheroes need to wear. The weapon they have is a sanitizer and a soap. Before each meal, they need to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, and before touching their face, they need to use a sanitizer. Make this a habit over the next few months and ensure they are ready to face any uncertainty. Some parents encourage kids to sing the happy birthday song while they wash their hands. Once they finish the song, the 20 seconds of handwashing is complete.

So, don’t avoid talking to kids about the situation, initiate a conversation and talk to them as per their maturity.

3.   Read to them

Dedicate some time with kids when you sit down and read aloud to them. This is an essential practice that helps them improve their comprehension and vocabulary skills. They might play with their toys as you read out and that’s okay. You may feel they’re not paying attention, but they’re absorbing more than you think.

In most schools, teachers or one of the students will read out a certain portion of the lesson. More than reading, kids learn more effectively when they hear or see something. Hence either the dad or the mom should read out to the kid. In the end, to test their attentiveness, you may ask them to put it all down on paper, or simply ask them questions around what you read.

4.   All work and no play is not normal

Since the whole concept of learning has shifted to home, a playground is out of the question, and the lack of physical exercise is another cause of concern for parents.  Staying active is extremely essential for health and wellbeing of children. Being active also improves concentration and thinking skills which helps kids during class. They tend to pay more attention to studies and do better.

But with everyone stuck inside, how can you incorporate physical activities? You can try some fun ways to add activities to their everyday routine, like playing Simon says is a game all kids like. Add instructions which will make them jump around like hop on one foot 10 times or do 5 rounds of the room. Create an obstacle course in the drawing-room using cushions, stools or toys and get them to jump over or crawl under things. Engaging them in things like these will keep them happy and active. Let kids be kids! You can join in too. This solves one more problem.  Their appetite has reduced because of inactivity, and ensuring some physical activities helps their metabolism too.

What are some learnings from this lockdown?

Kids are not going to learn at the rate they are learning at school and that’s OK. You have to accept that. For some assignments, they are going to need help. Making it stressful just makes it worse. Don’t stress them out too much. This is a perfect opportunity to make kids Aatmanirbhar. Teach kids to be responsible for their own learning. Don’t try to micromanage them, they are adapting to this change too.

In a situation like this, it’s also normal for kids (and you) to feel sad, worried, confused, scared or angry. Having dinner as a family and discussing the day can help give children a comforting sense of normalcy. Make sure you enjoy them together. Talking to them is the way to make them ready for what life has in store because there is no “1” solution to tackle the current situation. You need to prepare yourself and kids to adapt to the pro-longed lockdown and beat the uncertainty together. Agar taiyaari sahi ho, toh jeet pakki hai – in association with ICICI Prudential Life


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