Keep your child's spirits high - Tips & tricks

With quarantine in place and schools being closed, parents have to constantly find ways to keep their children happy and entertained. It is very important to engage children in thoughtful and exciting activities in order to maintain a good mental and physical health. Here are a few tips and tricks for quarantined parents amidst COVID-19:

Educate them

Silence and secrets do not protect our children, honesty and openness do! Talk to your children in a calm and reassuring manner about the COVID-19 pandemic, how to prevent it and the reasons for staying at home. Attempt to find some kind of balance between responding to questions well enough without inducing anxiety or uneasiness. Beware of what your child knows about the disease in order to correct any misinformation they may have believed. Monitor the information that your child receives through news coverage and social media that can cause him or her to get scared. Reassure your child that they are safe and it is okay to feel upset at times. Promise them that you will be there to address any questions or discussion about this point again whenever needed. Help your child feel in control by telling them about the steps they can take to protect themselves from the virus such as washing hands regularly, getting enough sleep and eating well. Be a good role model and let your kids see you taking preventive measures often so that they can follow the same.

Monitor them for behavioral changes

It is essential to keep track of your child's behavioral changes during this phase. If he or she is returning to behaviors that they had overcome, having difficulty in paying attention and concentrating, avoiding activities that they have previously enjoyed, showing sudden changes in eating and sleeping habits or crying, irritation and sadness; it is essential to take immediate actions to overcome them. Try to stop it before it starts! When they start to get restless, you can distract them with something fun and invite them to play a game together. Give your child something to look forward to every day and spend time with them even if its just for 20 minutes. Involve them in the food making process to encourage them to eat well. Ask them what they would like to eat next and put up a list of their favorites foods in the kitchen so they feel happy every time they look at it. Regular exciting activities everyday will encourage them to sleep on time so that they can wake up and have fun again! However, if serious health issues seem to be arising, it is wise to consult a medical professional as soon as possible.

Cook with them

Whether is a mini pizza, mac n cheese or just a simple mug cake, get a little messy with your kids and let them get creative with cooking up their favorite meals and desserts in the kitchen. Allow them to get involved in activities like organizing and measuring the ingredients, loading ingredients into the blender, rolling the dough etc. This will give the child a sense of achievement as well as empower them and encourage them to eat their own creations. While cooking educate them about which ingredients are healthy for them and which ones aren't. To get ideas and inspiration on what to cook, parents can purchase cookbooks such as 'Kids Cooking - Editors of Klutz', 'Gruffalo Crumble & Other Recipes', 'Little Green Kitchen: Simple vegetarian family recipes' and 'The Tickle Fingers Toddler Cookbook: Hands-on Fun in the Kitchen for 1 to 4s'. Parents can also follow 'Clare's Family Kitchen' on Instagram for quick and easy family friendly dishes.

Get creative with arts and crafts

Give your child a different art project to work on everyday. Promote imagination, creativity and problem-solving by focusing on art and play experiences that use simple drawing tools that you have at home, like pencils, markers, and crayons. Ask them to find items like leaves, flowers etc. to use as stamps in their art project. Since schools are closed, you can also merge art with studies, for example by letting the kids solve math problems using various art supplies that they enjoy using. This will make the process fun for them and studying won't be as boring anymore. Parents can also check out websites like 'Arts For Kids Hub' where they can find all kinds of art lessons for kids, including how to draw, paint and even origami for kids. Not only that, they also sell art supplies as well as How To Draw eBooks. Moreover, 'Art So Cute' is a YouTube channel that allows children to have fun learning how to draw and DIY craft with step by step, easy to follow videos.

Make reading fun and engaging

Reading daily and at a young age can help with language acquisition and literacy skills. It can help improve children's concentration as well as enhance their imagination by visualizing a book's characters and linking the character's feelings with their own to identify with them. Furthermore, reading together is a wonderful way to strengthen the parent-child bond. Assign a cozy reading corner for your child and let him or her help you with decorating it. Dedicate a certain amount of time during the day for the reading activity until it becomes a habit. Place a small bookshelf in the reading corner with a variety of interesting books for children, and let them pick what they would like to read. Allowing them to read a book of their own choice makes it more likely that they'll read the book and enjoy the activity of reading itself. It will gradually turn them into a frequent reader and they will not feel like they are being forced to read. If you don't have a certain book available you can find it online on websites such as Amazon where You can find free Kindle books for kids categorized under the Children’s eBooks section. There are several subcategories like Action & Adventure, Animals, Early Learning, Sports & Outdoors, each with 100 free eBooks to pick from so you can read a different one each day to your kids.

Order their favorite toys online

If you are looking for ways to keep the children entertained and get them to burn some energy at the same time, shop for cool toys online to get them off the couch! Websites such as Amazon, Noon, Mumzworld and Sprii sell items like inflatable pools, trampolines, playhouses, swing sets, electric cars, scooters and much more to keep and use in the backyard! These items will get children excited and keep them active throughout the day. Parents can also order Play Doh, science kits, costumes, puzzles and more for indoor activities.

Praise and reward them

Regardless of how old your children are, your recognition and support will assist them with liking themselves. It lifts their confidence and self-esteem. Once in a while rewards can be useful as well, particularly during times when you are trying to encourage great conduct. By using praise, you’re showing children how to think and talk positively about themselves. You’re helping your child learn how to recognize when he or she does well and to pat himself or herself on the back. Children are more likely to repeat behavior that earns praise. This means you can use praise to help change difficult behavior and replace it with desirable behavior. Rewards can make your praise and encouragement work better. Most behavior is influenced by the consequences that follow it, so when you praise your child’s behavior and then reward it, the behavior is more likely to happen again. Rewards can work well at first, but it’s best not to overuse them. [Source: raisingchildren.net.au]

Take advantage of the quality time you have with you children and make it memorable for them and yourself! #StayHome & #StaySafe.

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