By Maryam Ahmad
With the schools suspended, indefinitely for many kids, offices adjusted to online operation and the unprecedented panic created around the globe, little do we think about the effect of the situation on the brains of our little ones.
Being the mother of a three-year-old, I understand how difficult it can be to implement social distancing on a child of his age. While he understands absolutely nothing about what the world is fighting against, the tantrums are heightening, and even the sleeping and eating routines are suffering as a result. So if you’re experiencing the same problems with your toddler or preschooler, know that you’re not alone in this.
In fact, moms around the globe will be tackling two pressing situations this very moment: protecting the family against the infamous Coronavirus and handling a cranky toddler, or two at the same time.
Well… we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do, there’s no going around it. As directed by the CDC, here are the prevention steps you need to ensure for your children:
- Encourage them to wash hands and face often, especially if they have been outdoors.
- Use an alcohol-based sanitizer, if they’re outside and cannot wash hands.
- Keep the house clean and disinfect the surfaces that the kids will often touch, such as doorknobs, handles, switches, and toilets.
- Wash and change clothes often. Wash clothes with warm water and dry them completely before reusing them.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
It is also widely being encouraged to stay indoors as much as possible and maintain social distancing (1-meter distance from anyone who is sick as advised by WHO).
One thing that’s common with us moms is that we’re frenzied in almost every situation. We need to order our minds to “keep it together”! CDC and other authorized sources also mention that kids are not at high risk for the Coronavirus, according to the existing research, which is very reassuring, at least for me.
Follow the above guidelines, and you will, hopefully, not have much to worry about as far as Covid-19 is concerned.
Next up is the other major problem: keeping your kids entertained!
If you start thinking, there are plenty of indoor activities which we never really found the need for. Now is the time to bring them to action.
Let them explore the kitchen
Now that your kids have more time to spare, let them help you out in the kitchen. I understand that kids being in the kitchen can be very frustrating, and can sometimes double the work for you, but on the positive side, it will be a very educational experience for your child.
This is something that I have been doing for a while now, even before this Coronavirus outbreak. I’ve seen that when I involve my kid in the preparation of his meal, he’ll eat it with much more fondness. Before that, he would straight off reject most of the home-cooked stuff that took effort and time to prepare.
So, my kid is mostly in charge of the mixing chores. Of course, I’m very careful not to let him anywhere near the stove. He’s also fond of rolling the dough when making roti. I even have an extra roller for him, and let him roll the dough by my side. You should try it too, it keeps them busy for half an hour at least, while you can go about doing your kitchen chores.
A little gardening shouldn’t hurt
Playing or gardening within the boundaries of your premises shouldn’t be harmful to the kids in the current situation. Just make sure that the first thing they do when they come indoors is to wash their hands and face with soap and water.
You can provide them with some safe gardening tools to keep them busy digging in the garden for some time. We all know that our kids are capable of turning the garden inside out, now that they’re staying home.
So think ahead and reserve a spot where they can practice their gardening skills. Mark it on the ground with a stick or fence and name it after them; something like ‘Michelle’s Garden’. You’ll see how they’ll love working on it for hours without bothering you!
Encourage creativity: don’t mind the mess!
You’ll find tons of activities to do here. One thing that you need to compromise on is the mess! Kids will be messy, it’s about time we made our peace with it. Once we start looking beyond the mess, we’ll see the fun that our kids have while doing it and the things they learn in the process.
I have cut out pieces of a huge chart paper and give him one each day, together with his paint pallet, paintbrush, and just a little water. He has a worn-out shirt that he changes into before painting. Also, I spread out a spare sheet and then make him sit on it with all the stuff, so that there’s no mess elsewhere.
Other than that, playdough, blunt scissors for cutting out shapes are all excellent activities to keep the kids busy. I even have a wall of the kid’s room reserved for drawing and painting!
Don’t skip reading time
With school off for God knows how long, we need to promote more learning at home. If reading isn’t already a popular activity at your home, now is the time to make it one. Get some new books with some bright pictures to catch the attention of your little one.
Bedtime stories are the best to start with. I’ve seen that kids love any activities that will delay their bedtime, at least for a little while. Make use of their pain point and get them into the habit of reading.
Reading even works for toddlers and preschoolers who can’t yet read on their own. Tried and tested: when you read the same books again and again, they will remember the story and will flip the pages and read it on their own. Of course, they’ll only be reading it from their memory, but it’s still excellent to get them in the habit and to familiarize them with letters and words.
Educational apps and videos
Youtube is the last and ultimate resort for most of us! It can’t be avoided, especially when your kids are spending more time indoors. Just make sure you supervise what they’re watching. As long as it’s positive and they’re learning something out of it, it’s good for them.
You’ll also find tons of educational games and activities on your App store. Here are some of the good ones I’ve tried for my kid:
- Educational Games for Kids
- Coloring & Learn
- ABC Kids – Tracing & Phonics
- Kids Dino Adventure Game – Free Game for Children
- Kindergarten Kids Learning: Fun Educational Games
Maryam Ahmad is a passionate blog writer and has written on multiple niches over the course of her three-year career in content writing. Owing to her engaging writing style, the websites Maryam has written for have seen their rankings soar. Read more of her work at http://maryamswritinghub.
Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.