Unless your child has been enrolled in homeschool before the pandemic, the prolonged isolation period has likely taken its toll on them. Most children were used to their routines of being around friends and teachers before the pandemic. Having this taken away from them so suddenly can leave them lonely and depressed.
It doesn’t help that children are not yet fully developed regarding dealing with and communicating their emotions. During these difficult times, it helps to keep them occupied with healthy distractions. Here’s a list of ways to keep your kids happy and engaged during the pandemic.
Create a daily routine
Having a daily routine will benefit not just your children but you and your entire family. We’re living in very uncertain times, which can cause us great distress. A routine can help us ground ourselves by establishing certain expectations for each day.
These routines should include exercise, learning, and play while still leaving enough rest and sleep. Limit screen time when you can. The most effective way to do this is to set specific times for it to know when it starts and when it ends. But make sure to let them have a say in their routine – otherwise, they might resist following it.
Host virtual parties
Nothing can indeed top the physical presence and proximity of your loved ones, but hosting a virtual party can come close. Yes, things have been very different this year, but show your kids that they can still have fun by hosting a virtual party. With a few helpful tips and a stable internet connection, you’ll be able to make your babies smile and laugh with the skill of a practiced newborn photographer.
Speaking of exercise, gardening qualifies as a form of outdoor exercise. It’s important to incorporate outdoor activities into your routine too. Being outdoors gives you the chance to soak in some much-needed sun, which gives us vitamin D and regulates our circadian rhythms. Gardening is one of the best outdoor activities that you and your family can do. It educates children about how food is grown. In addition to helping them develop their motor skills, children also learn to care for the environment and develop empathy for other living creatures.
Children involved in vegetable gardening are also more likely to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets, which is every parent’s dream!
Related: Vegetable Gardening in a Small Space
You can incorporate new technology – such as video calling – into your social interactions with other members of your family. And you can also bring back old-fashioned ways to have fun with others, such as board games.
But there’s only so much interacting with one’s family members that a person can handle. To strike a healthy balance, your kids need to contact friends who are outside the family. You can encourage teenagers to catch up with their friends through social media platforms but make sure that they take breaks. Too much social media can do more harm than good.
Baking and cooking
Baking has been a popular coping mechanism during the lockdown, with sales of baking ingredients and supplies seeing an overwhelming increase in demand. Since children love sweets, this is a great activity to involve them in. This is a great way to teach them a new skill, perhaps even a lifelong passion that they might even turn into a business venture.
Just be careful of your kids’ sugar consumption! Lifelong eating habits tend to form during childhood, so getting your kids hooked on sugar and other unhealthy foods may lead to them craving those foods even in their adulthood. Sugary treats also put individuals at risk for many diseases, such as heart diseases and diabetes.
You can also focus on preparing healthy meals with your kids. If you’ve gotten them into vegetable gardening, why not use your homegrown vegetables for cooking up a fresh salad or pasta dish?
Kids aren’t immune to feelings of loneliness and depression during the pandemic. Their emotional naivety renders them more vulnerable to these feelings than adults. Keep them happy and engaged by keeping them in a predictable routine that leaves enough space for school, play, and rest. Encourage them to engage in healthy activities such as exercise, gardening, and baking. And let them have parties online to reconnect with friends and family.