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Coronavirus Crisis – Supporting Kids During This Time

7 tips for nurturing and protecting your children at home

As schools and and offices are being shut in order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, Parents are struggling to keep their kids healthy and occupied. 

Below are some tried and tested tips that might come handy :

1. Establish a daily routine

Setting a regular schedule is very important, even when at home all day. For those of you who have school-going children – And are continuing this routine through either home-schooling or digital education, perhaps both: Try to plan fixed mealtimes and a set bedtime each night as well as after-school activities. This is important from a disciplinary perspective and creates structure in your child’s day to day.

For those of you who do not have school-going children – If your child is too young to go to school: Try to allocate enough time for your child to read, to play and to exercise. Schedule a set nap time and bedtime each day, planning for mealtimes accordingly.

2. Incorporate creative activities and exercise

Incorporate new creative activities into your child’s routine, like gardening, scrapbooking or building a fort at home. 

Play contributes to the development of fine and gross motor skills, which allow your child to exercise. As a parent, it is important to continuously support this development. Exercise releases endorphins that improve ones mood and energy levels, while meditation helps regulate emotions as opposed to lethargy, which increases irritability. Therefore, exercise helps calm your children down, improving the quality of their sleep and regularity of their sleep cycle.

3. Use online activities that can be downloaded and printed

Parents are tapping the internet to add interesting activities to their kids’ lockdown. We at Skillmatics are now offering our best-selling games for free to beat boredom this lockdown! Get the whole family involved with our ever-popular Guess in 10 game or solve our super fun, skill-building Brain Teasers from the comfort of your own home! Guaranteed hours of fun for your child while picking up valuable skills in the process.

4. Involve them in chores

Encouraging kids to pitch in with household chores such as cleaning their rooms, making their beds, setting the dinner table or cleaning the dishes is a good way to ensure they are busy and active! 

5. Keep it positive for your kids

A few months ago, I took an online course, based on Positive Psychology, on Coursera hosted by the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). Martin Seligman, the founder of the Positive Psychology movement, shared his “three good things” technique as a way of practicing gratitude. Each night, at either dinner or bedtime, Seligman discusses three good things that have happened during his day with his family. He claims that this is a great way for them to bond and to connect.

Frame this time that you have at home – as a positive thing. In my family, we discuss the highlights of our day at dinner. This can be an opportunity to spend quality time with those you love and to show your loved ones how much you appreciate them. Empathy is essential during these difficult times of the Coronavirus!

 

6. Discuss the Coronavirus but don’t over discuss it

The importance of setting boundaries – children are very perceptive and will pick up quickly and easily on the energy that you give out. For example, talking about the Coronavirus at mealtimes could make them more anxious. There’s no need to talk about it more than you have to (especially with small children) when you’re already living through it. If you do wish to stay informed, turn to reliable sources of information. For example, the WHO (World Health Organisation) and Unicef are excellent resources due to their factual reporting.

7. Monitor screen time  

Set a daily limit of an hour or two. For example, one hour could be dedicated to educational digital learning and another hour to games on the Ipad or to TV time. Setting a no screens during mealtimes rule will ensure that parents connect to their kids and vice versa. Additionally, family move nights on the weekend help distinguish between working days and non-working days.

 

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