The Movement Control Order has many people, including parents and kids, at home 24/7. While that spells out quality time, perhaps overdue, it’s undoubtedly also a difficult time as we remember that we are facing a crisis. Child & Family Development Specialist Racheal Kwacz shares her best tips for how parents can use this time at home to be there for their children in healthy and fulfilling ways. Don’t worry, parents, we’re all in it together!
Ask what’s important
Sit everyone down together and ask questions – what would you like to do the most everyday while in quarantine? What do we hope this time will teach us? What is important for you during this time? What this does is helps everyone to keep focused and know what is expected of them as well as what to expect.
Consistency helps little ones (and adults too) feel safe. It’s predictable in all the uncertainty so create a consistent schedule or routine. Allow room for wonder and flexibility but having a consistent routine and schedule will help everyone to keep track.
Create a “study station”
Designate a place where you can work on school together, even if it’s just a little spot on your dining room table. The designation will help so much in helping little ones transition. Ideally, find a spot with natural light and not too many distractions.
Get to moving!
Take brain breaks but more importantly, take movement breaks. Studies have found that our brains function the best in a sustained learning state after 20 to 30minutes of vigorous activity followed by a hearty meal or snack. Start your day with this so the whole family will be able to work better.
Make and spend time together
Make time for play together. Let them lead. Discover. Laugh. Connect. We call this “filling up their love tanks” so be present and view this time as refuelling.
Make time alone
Similarly, connect to disconnect. Allow your little ones to be bored as boredom elicits creativity. Try not to overschedule or micromanage but allow time to just create. Little ones are amazingly creative and imaginative, allow room for that wonder.
“Me time” is so important for your mental and emotional health. Give yourself time for you. Whether it is a quiet nightcap at the end of the night, a call-in with a friend, or just taking a half an hour break to work on a hobby or do something you love. You need to be refuelled too.
And finally, listen
Most importantly, listen to your parent gut. You know your child and your family best. If the work becomes too overwhelming for you and your little one, don’t be afraid to take a brain break yourself or to reprioritise. Learning cannot happen without feeling safe or loved. That’s your primary focus during this time: connect and reassure that you are here for them and you are with them. The school work can always be fixed, done, and learned again. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and our hearts matter the most in this.