"I and Veenita, my wife, are both caught up in a hectic circle of work that includes both our professional and home chores commitments. Vedant, our 11-year old son used to always ask us to play with him, a board game, during our working hours. Initially, it seemed possible but as the workload started to increase it became highly difficult for us to entertain our child.
We obviously do love our boy but simple board games and other tricks that the google throws up when I research about keeping kids busy during the lockdown require either mine or my wife’s intervention. If Vedant paints, then after a whole day’s work, we are left with the headache of cleaning up the mess he creates. And honestly, all these activities have become a bore for my son and he has started to grow restless and even more agitated than before.
So I went back to my childhood activities and thought of all the things that I did as a kid that kept me busy without bothering my parents. Here are three simple but different tips that have worked miracles for my son and you can try it out for your child too," says Ankush Khurana, Delhi.
1. Writing letters: My father taught me how to write letters to the people we didn’t meet frequently. I asked Vedant to think about all his friends and the people he wished he could meet and play games with during the lockdown and write--either a letter or an email--to them every day. This not only helps him stay busy but also makes him express his feelings.
2. Love for art: When I was young, I never liked singing until my father taught me how to appreciate music-- different instruments, lyrics, compositions, the rhythm and most importantly the feeling. This was a tricky task for my 11-year son to take up but he agreed to take it up as a challenge. I gave him my old casio keyboard and asked him to look for videos and try and learn something on his own. He took to it quite well and spends quite a lot of time on his keyboard now.
If music is not up his alley, try and find a few upbeat online courses like maker space or code-a-game or stand up comedy, something that the child can do on his own without too much assistance from you.
3. Teach them to use internet wisely: Reading physical books might be boring for most kids these days, so introduce E-books or even better, audio-books to them. They don’t even need to read the book and yet they know the whole book that too with different voices and sound variations and ambience sound.
Download comics and other free online books that your child can read.
4. Let them grow their garden: Choose easy to grow things such as chilly plants. Let the child do everything right from planting seeds in a pot to watering it and letting it grow. It not only will keep him occupied, build him a hobby, but also teach him the essential skill of nurturing and taking care.
5. Keep a messy day: While art and craft with undoubtedly create mess and then require you to clean up, give your child a day when he can create mess and then later with your help clean up. Follow simple practices such as laying down lots of newspapers on the floor, keeping tissues handy etc.