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Engaging Children

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Viswamitra, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    The parents working from home and the children educating themselves online is becoming unsustainable long-term situation for many families. Maintaining a routine for younger children is difficult especially when they remain home with no physical interaction with the teachers and peers. This period appears to be an aeonian period for parents. When they must be productive by telecommuting, they need to also set standards for the children to behave during their work time, feed them and regulate their routine activities all at once. These are times when the children's screen time may substantially increase and later when things are back to normal, it would be difficult to contain their newly developed habits. Here are some constructive suggestions (not a comprehensive list) to overcome this situation.

    1. Screen Time – Other than their school time, the parents need to accumulate several hours of content for them to learn morals out of ancient epics or reading material (this is a good time to read books to the children) that would be invaluable for their lives. The younger ones are fond of animated movies and hence I found the following movies online.





    There are many such contents available online to create long hours of viewing by the children. If their screen time is inevitable when the parents are working, at least, the parents can ensure their screen time is spent on viewing some invaluable content.

    2. Household work – I know it is hard for the parents to make the children work and we tend to do as much as possible for the well-being of the children. However, these are times to introduce some responsibilities to the children. It could be putting their clothes into the dishwasher, cleaning their bathroom, feeding the pet, planting seeds and small plants, setting up a birdfeed and water for the birds, cleaning the room and vacuuming it, teaching them how to make a hot drink or prepare snacks to eat and so on.

    3. Fitness practices and home games – The children can be introduced to a simple physical activity that would replace their sport activity. Board games, Table Tennis, Pool Billiards, Carrom Board, Chess, swimming if there is a pool at home can be introduced to the children so that they don’t automatically spend time online.

    4. Art - If they are interested in musical instruments or singing or dancing, they should be allowed to practice them at home. Some kids may have a natural interest to draw and they should be provided enough material to draw. The museums worldwide are now having a virtual tour for the children to learn from them and however, these tours will have to be set up after parental control. The parents also could teach the art of writing scripts and enacting a play even though the audience, for the time being, is only the family members.

    5. Science – NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement maintains a wide variety of material for students and educators to learn about NASA programs. NASA STEM@HOME has materials and activities for students in kindergarten through 4th grade and for the children in grades 5 through 8. From formal lesson plans to amazing imagery and stories about how science and exploration are lifting our world. There will also be ongoing opportunities to chat and interact with scientists directly.

    6. Language skills – The children are more receptive to multiple languages and they learn languages much easier than adults. This may be a great time to introduce them to a new language provided proper tutoring is available for them to continue this education. There are many apps that introduce languages for functional talking but if the children are interested in learning the language at length, they need to be introduced to a tutor online. Even in known languages, the children could be trained to create index cards with new words and meanings so that they could improve their vocabulary.

    7. Service – The children can be trained to do small service at home for the needy or poor. They could prepare a simple letter or card for those who they know are working in the essential services industry such as medical professionals, pharmacy staff, and grocery store cashiers and stockers expressing gratitude for what they do while everyone else stays at home to flatten the curve. This will teach them an important lesson to be grateful to those who are selfless in serving others. They could also, during their free time, feed the poor by answering questions on freerice.com set up by the United Nations World Food Program.

    8. Family Tree Genealogy – The children can be trained to know all the extended family members and have them create a family tree for 3-4 generations. If the parents have pictures, adding pictures to the family tree would make better sense for the children. After they build the family tree, the parents could let them talk to the relatives or send a “stay healthy’ card to them which would make them happy.

    9. Life lesson videos and Quiz programs – To keep their learning interest alive, there are so many life lessons videos that I personally use for moral classes. For example, I used a video to teach the children that they need certain standards among friends to make a good friendship. We also went through a workbook highlights how true friendship is formed. There are so many online quiz programs available for the children to learn every day.

    I know each parent will have his/her own plan for engaging their children. My post here is not directional and just suggestions. Please share your experience of how you are engaging your younger children during this difficult time. We can learn from each other.
     
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  2. Caughtinbetween

    Caughtinbetween Gold IL'ite

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    Nice pointers Uncle .
    I came to know about nasa stem@home and freerice website through this article , both are very engaging . I am myself hooked up to freerice.com since I saw that .

    I have tried different games and toys from amazon but so far not quite successful. She would only sit still for as long as cartoons play on the tv. Day care's routine is missed sorely. Not a good napper either. Infact I feel now a days she is herself bored of the tv but would still watch it. Its quite a struggle to work study and keep her engaged during the day. She is 20 months old , i see other parents handling quite well with a schedule and variety of activities . Will look forward to others feedback here to see how are others handling it . She does help putting clothes in the washing machine and take it out once done. Nothing else so far.
     
    Thyagarajan, Viswamitra and kkrish like this.
  3. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    My like is especially for mentioning the NASA website @Viswamitra .
    A good post.
     
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  4. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    A very good post. I reached usa mid March. It was because my daughter was moving to another state and my granddaughter is 2 years old.

    Then came the work from home for both my Son in law and daughter. Day care closed. We moved and now are at an apartment looking for a house

    Keeping a 2 year old busy throughout the day is a big task. She is not particularly interested in tv. So the day goes by innovating some new games. For 3 days we played robber and police. She only understands the hiding and the police searching for her. Then it is the same hiding game, but the character changed to jack and giant. Inbetween we do painting and colouring. I make some origami for her. Then the game was mother bird and baby bird, putting a towel on the back as wings and hopping around in search of worms.
    I am now slowly running out of ideas. So let me too wait for others to give me some.
     
  5. sln

    sln Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Viswa,
    Good ideas but I dont fall into the target.I have passed on the tips to two 70+ fellow sufferers who are unable to cope up with 5/6 hours of monopoly game with their grandchildren while parents lock themselves in and work from home.
    Regards.SLN
     
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  6. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @Caughtinbetween

    Thank you for your first response. I am glad to hear that the freerice.com site is so engaging. What a novel way for any of us to do service remotely through this site!

    Your child is too young to implement any of the above plans. In fact, most of my suggestions are for school-going children who are not teens as yet. I am also looking for suggestions from others from parents with children below the age of 3 or 4. In fact, this thread can be used as a platform to share ideas with each other. This is the best time to share thoughts and help others.
     
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @kkrish

    Thank you for your visit and like. I recently came across this NASA website.
     
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  8. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @umaakumar,

    Daycares closing should have impacted many parents throughout the US. I am glad you are here to help your daughter and son-in-law. Wow, you have already shared a lot of ideas and hopefully, other parents and grandparents will share more here.
     
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  9. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear SLN Sir,

    Thank you for your response and for sharing this with other senior citizens who spend a lot of time with their grandchildren. I hope they find this thread useful.
     
  10. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    @Caughtinbetween and @umaakumar

    A few suggestions for the little ones.

    1. Build a tent from a bed-sheet thrown over a sofa and some chairs. Get inside and create a base camp or make it a sleep area for nap time.
    2. Viswa already mentioned this - Story time - Read books. Sit them on you lap and read. Read and narrate stories with a little drama using hands, voice modulations, and facial expressions. The child may not understand but will listen.
    3. Sing nursery rhymes again with voice modulations. You can make sock monkeys/hand puppets and have them join in the fun.
    4. Exercise - Not sure if this will work if you are in an upstairs apartment. If you can, put on some fast music and dance. The child will dance or just jump with you. This will be the physical exercise.
    5. Give two plastic cups and some Cheerios/or any large cereal. The child will pour the cereal from one cup to another. Even if she/he pops a couple in her/his mouth no big deal. Just spread a paper or sheet on the floor to make clean-up easy.
    6. Play dough - handling play dough is very important to strengthen the child's hands. Join in the fun and make shapes while the child handles/plays with it his/her way. We can make play dough by mixing all-purpose flour, oil, water, and some food coloring.Here is a video . There are many others.
    7. Cut out pictures (you cut the pictures) from old magazines and have the child glue them to a scrap book or some old note books. You can also cut out shapes from plain paper and have the child color them with crayons. Let the child apply glue and paste them. Glue paste can be made at home with maida/all-purpose flour. This is messy. So use old towels, sheets, and put on old large t-shirts on the child.
    I was thinking of some other things but just forgot what they were. Will update when and as I remember them.

    Trust you will find some of these ideas helpful.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
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