We are witnessing an unprecedented event in our shared history that Corona Virus is unleashing on mankind. Getting restricted to home can become quite stressful for all, more so for the children. As there is uncertainty around, it will be good to have some awareness and tools to face the current situation. As our school and playground continue to remain closed, we would like to send the following message to you:
Accept it first. The first thing to do in this situation is to accept the situation that there is a pandemic lockdown, and it can go on for quite a while. Accept that your children are as worried as you are. Every time you go out for panic buying, the child picks up a cue. Every time a Corona virus news item gets played, the child also hears it. Every time you talk over the phone about impending doomsday, the child gets a hint. It’s quite up to the parent to maintain calm, because only then will the child feel comforted.
It’s home and not school.
Unless your child is a self‐directed learner, online programs can become quite overwhelming. Set a routine that has big blocks dedicated for one integrated activity. A schedule with every minute planned out could also backfire. What may take place from 9am to 9:30 AM today, could just as well happen from 10am to 10:15 AM tomorrow.
Don’t get too hung up on a routine either. One day, your kids may want to spend all day exploring the cobweb in balcony (life sciences) or spend the next week trying to make a brand-new dish at kitchen (that’s STEM -science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Let them discover and love learning. Let them lead. But keep them away from the android. Allow them time with computers to explore their interests.
Know your child. This is a great opportunity to know more about your children; what they like doing, what are their fears, how do they learn and so on! This is a time for togetherness: let them assist you in the kitchen and in household chores, allow them to cook, create and play new games, do laundry, do dishes, mend things, watch documentaries, read to each other, dance, sing. Do all the things that you never really had time for. If you can, stop watching news on the TV and getting consumed by the flood of social media messages, and utilise that time to be with your children.
There must be opportunities at your home – to organize or reorganize things. Do that together with your child and it will make you feel good. We sometimes forget how much learning takes place just by living life and playing games. With how stressful the world is right now, it’s important to remember to enjoy each other’s company as much as possible.
Utilize the role of household chores in developing the life skills of management of time, space and self. Allow your children to prepare a timetable. Be liberal, treat your children as individuals with huge capabilities, and watch them surprise you with their achievements. Working to manage the house gives them confidence that they are dependable and that they are able to manage things on their own. This self‐reliance will go a long way in making them confident individuals.
Teachers are also “humans”. While many schools are prompting their teachers to stay connected with students during lockdown, they also have a life that is as much affected. Yes, teachers will carry out their duties, but as parents this is the time to empathize with them. If in some days scheduled calls don’t happen or there is change in the plan, accommodate it.
Reorient to the new world order.
The world may not be same in the aftermath of Covid‐19. Yes e‐governance, e‐commerce, e‐schooling, e‐medicine might come back with even more fervor. But we will see a major shift in responsibilities. Individuals will have to take more charge of their learning. This is a magical opportunity to reorient ourselves towards self‐learning and learning about the self.
Let us do whatever it takes to follow these, and we would have given the children a far greater education than they would on a math or a grammar website.