My three years old son is insisting to take him to the Masjid for prayer, as usual, but I am constrained to make him understand that it’s not possible, anymore. Besides, I am unable to realize him not to shake hands with anyone, these days. This is all contrary to what he has learned over a period of time, accompanying me to the mosque and greeting people with a shake of hands.
In the backdrop of Coronavirus pandemic, educational institutes, schools and colleges have been closed for an indefinite period of time. The academic activities are disrupted and the learning process of the youngsters have seriously been affected. In such a scenario, one of the most important challenges, the parents are confronting is how to handle their kids at home.
What the kids should do how they should behave, what should they play and how they should utilize their spare time more fruitfully and productively are quite intriguing for many parents in the current situation.
In this article, some of the issues confronted by the parents while dealing with their kids in isolation are discussed. The opportunities created by the looming threats are also delineated here with some practical suggestions-how to engage your kids more prolifically in such a stressful situation.
With Coronavirus spreading unprecedentedly across the globe, the concerned authorities are temporarily closing academies, schools, colleges and universities, in order to save the children from the spread and scourge of the lethal virus.
Initially thought to be kids’ friendly, the death of a 12-year-old girl in Belgium, one of the youngest victims of coronavirus pandemic in a rare development followed by the death of another 13 years old boy in the UK recently, have set alarm bells ringing.
Now the scenario has changed altogether. We must understand that the deadly virus can affect people of all age groups. So special attention needs to be paid to the safety of our nestlings.
Numerous studies revealed that kids are often the most vulnerable in times of crisis. Whether they were personally affected or exposed to traumatic circumstances via irresponsible media coverage, it is critically important to take utmost care of their emotional wellbeing as well as their physical safety.
Disruption of academic activities
At a time, when annual exams of a big chunk of school-going kids, in this part of the world, were over. Most of them were waiting for their results to be declared, in a couple of days. They were filled with excitement, as usual, which used to be followed by the acquisition of new books, stationery and necessary stuff and commencement of the new academic session. Nevertheless, everything came to a standstill. Consequently, the kids are absolutely free, having nothing on their plate and having the full potential to make the life of their parents miserable if not handled dexterously.
It is said that if the period of current lockdown has further been extended beyond the already announced two months period, the anxiety and frustration of the parents will know no bounds.
Understanding parental predicaments
The challenges, confronted by the parents vary a great deal from case to case, having variation in nature and intensity. The most notable among them, I faced up include but not limited to the following:
1. Keeping the children at home
As the coronavirus is successfully keeping us apart and restricting our mobility, it seems the majority of the parents are struggling how to deal with their kids. The most upsetting for the parents is to keep the kids confined to the boundary-walls of their homes for such a long period of time. Another important challenge is to keep them occupied, proactive and engaged them in something more creative and exciting.
2. Un-learning some hard-learned habits
In such a sorry state of affairs, it is becoming really cumbersome for the parents to make their kids understand the new social distancing protocol and advisories. Hence, they have to make their kids unlearn some hard-learned etiquettes, learn a brand-new set of mannerism and adopt new socially acceptable behaviour.
3. Keeping the children proactive
In normal routine life, they used to take rest after returning from the schools, play some games, attend to some religious activities, do their homework and prepare for the next day busy schedule and that’s all. The parents had no worries. Most of the things appeared to be on the auto. But now this is a different ball game. The parents have to pay heed to each and every moment of their precious time.
Nevertheless, this testing time is generating new prospects for the physical growth and mental development of the children. This is a classic situation, never ever thought about previously and harbinger unlimited potential for the mental and physical development of our kids.
As the parents waste too much time scrolling through social media and not finding enough of it interacting with their kids, this state of affairs has generated a favourable combination of circumstances for parents particularly working parents, to come closer to their kids. For the first time, in our lifetime, we are able to spend some leisure time, dedicatedly and exclusively, with our children. For the first time, we are having time to sit with them, explore their strengths and discuss the things with them in detail. And most importantly, for the first time, we have the opportunity to help them cultivate positive traits, attributes and habits in them.
Importance of parents’ knowledge for child growth and development
The significance of parents’ knowledge about child growth and mental development is an important theme of many efforts to support effective parenting. Nevertheless, parents’ knowledge and willingness to broaden their knowledge base, change over time. In times of public emergencies, such as the prevailing lockdown, its significance is getting more pronounced. Hence, they are required to acquire developmental knowledge about the child’ physical and mental health and keep the same updated. This will ultimately help them employ effective parenting practices in times of exceptional circumstances.
What should the parent do?
With the closure of educational institutes, remote learning and online courses are becoming the best available options to help the kids continue with the academic and learning activities. It is high time; the parents explore their strengths and prepare them for such future roles. Besides there are a number of things the parents should do on a fast track to keep their children engaged, motivated and productive. These Dos and Don’ts are discussed in the next blog post: How to keep your kids engaged and excited during the Coronavirus pandemic?