We are witnessing an unprecedented event in our shared history that Corona Virus is unleashing on mankind. A lot of things have changed during the last few weeks. Most of our governments, communities and citizens are taking drastic measures to deal with the situation. Along with many other places, our schools and playgrounds will remain closed for some time. 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.
Accept it first. The first thing to do in this situation is to accept the situation. That there is a pandemic lockdown. That it can go on for quite a while. Accept that for some time, children will treat it as vacation. Accept that children are as worried as their parents. Every time, the parent goes 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, the parents talk over phone about impending doomsday, the child gets a hint. It’s quite upto the parent to maintain calm, because only then will the child feel comforted.
It’s home and not school. ‘School from home’ is a bigger and relatively a much newer transition than ‘work from home’. Neither you nor your children were ready for this. Children would need time to ease into the home environment where the expectations have suddenly changed. 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 back fire. What may take place from 9am to 9:30am today, could just as well happen from 10am to 10:15am 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 do they like doing, what are their fears, how do they learn and so on. Now is the time to make stuff together – even jugaad types, cook, make and playgames, do laundry, do dishes, mend things, watch documentaries, read to each other, dance, sing. Do all the things that you never really have time for. If you can, stop watching news on the TV and getting consumed by the myriads of Whatsapp messages.
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 as much as possible.
Utilize the role of household chores in developing life skills of management of time, space and self. Allow the child to prepare the time table. Be liberal, treat your children as individuals with huge capabilities, help them and watch them surprise you with their achievements. Working to manage the house gives them confidence that they are dependable and able to manage things on their own. This self‐reliance will go a long way in helping them after the lock down.
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 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.
Do whatever it takes to bring you all through this well and you will have given them a far greater education than they can get on a mathematics or a grammar website.