When the Tough Get Going ....
We were hardly prepared for this- “Corovacation”. The family has been together for over a fortnight. Our kids have been home for a month. What seemed tough and unimaginable earlier – a house without maid/s, working from home ( remember there are no week-ends anymore), stay at home evenings are appearing to be a passe. What looms large now, what next? How do we make this stay at home period meaningful.
When the schools closed mid-March kids,the schools pitched in . Zoom classes ,Zoom hobby and fitness classes , worksheets , assignments , Game , Quizzes .very soon webinars , career counselling , online coaching for professional courses started .All for free! Parents feel that this would keep their children occupied.But…!
Is this what your children want? Is this what you want ? Not having extended families ,an isolation can lead to loneliness. As parents ,you would have observed that your child is very different at home.Programs that work in school will not work at home.You are seeing them wake up late. When it’s time to begin preparation for lunch , the youngsters are still with breakfast and tea. So, the lunch is delayed .The work is held up. It irks you and then begins the outbursts or the sermons. It takes a complete mind-shift to be able to handle your child/ teenager.
Having handled children ,I can just imagine how they feel now. Some may express it verbally ,while still others will be irritable, short-tempered , aggressive,tearful or even withdrawn . A few ideas that may work well to keep the good cheer ,enthusiasm and positive environment .All we need to to do is to make a mind shift.Start with what interests them. Talk about it .Show interest in exploring or knowing more about what you just discussed .
Do not give them a laundry list of what needs to be done each day. While you may want them done ,they too want to charter out their schedule independently. Children who are compliant in school , strictly following the teacher’s directions ,may not be the same at home.Too much of structure can cause more frustration and boredom.
If your child is small ,you can volunteer to be a part of their activities /game.Do not recommend games for them or dissuade them from playing a game calling”kiddish”.Any role play gives you a peep into their mind.Board games can become interesting for adults too. Playing memory board games protects us from cognitive decline.Play the game the way it should be. Do not allow your child to win just to keep them happy. They don’t learn nor enjoy .Do read out stories or sing along with them whenever you feel the mood in the house is down- swinging.
To keep teenagers engaged actively in something meaningful is not so easy.Being active is important .Do encourage them to be physically active.Yoga, dancing to music, Zomba, Aerobics may be done at least four times a day. Meditation does not always means shutting oneself out of the world’s happenings .Listening to good music,motivating talks , being immersed in positive thoughts are also a part of meditation.
This is not the time to talk to teenagers about wasting time, restricting screen time or narrating “when I was your age…” stories. No matter how you try to be”their friend” , you will fail.They just miss being with their friends, playing with them or working with them. They feel they are cut-off from them.School has always been an excuse to meet up with friends and have fun.Social distancing is a challenge for the teenagers.
Acknowledging one’s emotions and accepting the moods is the first step towards being positive.Give them space to be by themselves for a while .Step in only, if you must.Giving them a challenge which involves strategies , creativity and problem solving is something they love. Parents can discuss about expansion and diversification of their own business and preparation of business proposals. Designing the new office or flat or a new tech tool could be interesting . Cleaning up of apps , technology or electronic gadget is something they like. Learning editing , mixing , film making , sound recording are enjoyable too.Coding , gamification, instructional designing, Artificial Intelligence ,new programming for the tech-savvy ones will help them design something new. They are wired to be experimental ,so allow them to pursue their interests. They will even collaborate with their friends.
Evenings should be family time , where all members discuss their day.Children then, learn to respect parents for their efforts.Children should be encouraged to cook a meal , help in cleaning, chat up with grand-parents and older relatives . This will knit the family together.
As parents , we are the people whom our children will look up to. We cannot afford to have words like boredom , sulking , frustrating, frightening, disgusting. Accept this break from the routines ,cheerfully. And make our personal routines as important as our work schedules. Wake up and bed time is non -negotiable for every member of the family. Soon , the waking hours are enjoyable.And sometime when you write your own story ,where the Corona would definitely be mentioned, I am sure it would read – -And the Corovacation helped me to discover myself.