The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed. – Eminem

Amid these crazy times, while some of us as adults have been comforted with advice; that the chances of children contracting the dreadful Corona Virus are bleak, their lives have positively been impacted by its occurrence. 

The pandemic has undoubtedly changed our lives, and we will be reeling in its after-effects for a long time to come.

A drastic change of routine in everyday life, changed schedules for every member of the house and fewer or no opportunities to socialise with their friends is undoubtedly not an easy scenario for children to suddenly get used to.

Children could begin to show signs of mood swings and anxiety at such times, which might be a normal reaction. 

But as parents dealing with uncertainty ourselves, we have to remember to be mindful of how we react to situations or how we behave around our children.

The good news ( yes, there always is) is that as parents or caregivers, we can lessen the impact the Virus will have on children. They are resilient beings, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need our constant help and shoulder to lean on.

A proud mother of two daughters – ages 12 and 7, I too went through my share of anxious days when the pandemic hit. Our lives took a 360/* turn. 

What helped us the most as a family was to have a positive attitude. We learned how to validate our feelings and express them from time to time.

I would like to share some fun but valuable strategies that I successfully experimented with during the lockdown. My daughters now have made them a routine. 

Encourage them to express their feelings. 

Talking to my daughters about how my day was at bedtime made it easier for them to express their emotions freely.

“How was your day?’ Four simple words would some nights open up a pandora’s box of emotions for the three of us.

You should try it. It works like a charm every time!

Don’t shy away from expressing your feelings as a parent, either. 

Here’s how we did it.

To start off with, on the first day, I spoke to them about how knackered I felt and that it was ok to feel that way. Nervous, anxious, happy, mixed feelings, I talked to them about anything and everything.

Some children are better at hiding their feelings, so as parents, we may have to be more patient and work harder to hammer their feelings out, but it is always well worth the effort.

Give them an ear and validate their feelings.

As a team, at home, we acknowledged the fact that we were now living in a bizarre and crazy period.

We worked together as a team to feel as normal as we could, faced our fears and spoke of ways to overcome any anxiety or uncertainty we were grappling with. 

A fun and useful activity we did practically every afternoon was writing or sketching notes to each other or our extended family and friends.

My younger daughter who is generally as cool as a cucumber suddenly showed signs of being terrified of the dark, to the extent that she wouldn’t venture to the washroom by herself once the bats were awake! 

A brilliant glow in the dark game we bought online at ‘The Bazzar Hour’ helped rid her of the fear. She had to be in a dark room to see them glow, right? And so many ingenious sessions followed. A few nights and many structures later, she mustered the courage to walk into the dark to answer nature’s call. And just like that, she was ok!

Help them be the social animals they are meant to be.

Research has proved socialising helps children to not only come into their own, but it also helps them learn how to respect others opinions, share and be a part of a more prominent family of friends and other adults.

I helped them connect with their ‘BFF’s through zoom and what’s app calls. It’s a separate matter that I had to eventually tell them to put a sock on it! 

The most fun we had was when we tried our hand at writing secret messages on paper aeroplanes with kind messages and flung them out the window in the hope that some lucky soul might find it and smile!

Once the ‘new normal’ fades away and becomes a thing of the past, don’t stop telling your children how brilliant they are and how they make a difference in your lives every day. 

This generation of children will by far be one of the strongest in a long time to come. Surviving a pandemic, floods, storms, locust attacks and lots more, they are ready for any and every ride ahead.

I would like to share a fun yet easy to- do- activity that you can do with your children.

GRATITUDE JAR

Materials:

  1. Any medium-size transparent plastic jar with a lid.  
  2. An A4 coloured sheet of paper.
  3. A pair of scissors.
  4. Coloured markers to write or decorate.
  5. A label for the jar ( you can simply cut a shape out of paper)
  6. IDEA’S to fill up the jar
  7. Stickers or smaller shape cutouts to decorate (optional)

Instructions:

  1. As a family come up with ideas for appreciating the presence of each other in each one’s life.
  2. Cut up the A4 coloured paper into small strips ( as many as the ideas you have)
  3. Now take the strips you have cut and get your child to write or draw the images that represent the ideas you all came up with.
  4. Now fold the strips, drop them in the jar and close the lid.
  5. Cut out a shape for the label and stick it on a jar from the outside.
  6. Write the words GRATITUDE JAR on it.
  7. Decorate the outside with small stickers or shapes.
  8. Its all ready to use!

Ideas

  1. CLEAN UP AFTER PLAYING
  2. SAY THANK YOU WHEN SOMEONE GIVES YOU ANYTHING
  3. APOLOGISE WHEN YOU HURT SOMEONE
  4. SAY PLEASE WHEN YOU NEED SOMETHING
  5. HELP AROUND THE HOUSE
  6. FILL THE BOTTLES AFTER DRINKING WATER
  7. CALL A FRIEND TO SAY HI
  8. SAY A PRAYER EVERY NIGHT
  9. BE KIND TO THOSE WHO HAVE LESS
  10. APPRECIATE HELP AT HOME

As a family, you each can make one and keep adding to the jar until it overflows!

Keep going back to the jar every night and see if you can use at least one of them the next day!

If we don’t listen to the little stuff when they are younger, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are older. Because to our children, all of it has always been big stuff!

Rachna Narwekar, a mother of two has been an educator since 2001. She is the founder of Rachna’s Funclub, South Mumbai’s most loved activity centre for kids. It’s a one stop shop for holistic learning for children across all age groups with a focus on unique, hands on, experiential activities.

From toddler sessions to vocabulary building, enrichment programs and ballet, you can book the best classes from Rachna’s Funclub only on Playydate


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