The movement control order (MCO) in March affected everyone in one way or another. And even with the easing of the MCO, schools still remain shut, leaving many curious, creative and energetic children at home all day.
But while everyone is singing the praises of healthcare professionals and other essential service providers, no one is talking about our little heroes at home.
The MCO probably has had the greatest impact on the lives of the children. Initially, it was all fun and games with no school, but it has slowly begun to dawn on them that this has also meant no playground time, no swimming or other group activities.
Children get stressed too and it manifests itself as tantrums, restlessness and bouts of crying and screaming. But it does not have to be that way if parents plan their days so children are kept busy and entertained indoors.
How do you achieve this? Here’s how.
• Set a timetable that is easy to follow: Do this not only for the children but for you as well. You can check the boxes throughout the day and keep them busy as well as active in the process.
Suppose your children wake up at 8am, keep half an hour after waking up as a time to relax. You can have them make their beds or just let them be. The next hour is for having a wash, dressing and breakfast.
So, according to the timetable, they will be ready by 9.30am to begin their activities.
• Carry out some indoor warm-up exercises to keep them fit: A simple game you can play is up and down. You instruct them by calling “up” or “down” and they must follow the instructions by standing up and sitting or lying down.
You can make it more fun by giving instructions like up, up, down and see how they improvise. You can take turns with the children to be the caller and in this way, you can stay fit as well.
• Play a fun game: Another fun game that will keep children active and entertained for a long time is the balloon game. Clear the dining table and have your children stand on either end of it, or you and your child can stand on the longer sides of the table.
Pass the balloon back and forth, making sure it does not fall to the ground or touch the table, or you lose a point. If you cannot find a balloon you can also play with a small soft toy. Just make sure it is something soft so it does not hurt the children or damage anything.
• Try dancing: The third activity you can try is dancing. There are many YouTube channels that have fun and easy five to 10-minute dancing videos that you can follow with your little guy or girl.
Dancing is a great physical exercise and doing it together helps with bonding too. Just find a channel that is age appropriate and has dance steps that are easy for your children to follow.
Before you start any activity, clear the area and remove any centre tables, rugs, sofas or other items to make sure the children have enough space to move around without damaging anything or hurting themselves.
Follow the timetable for the activities so they will know what comes next and will be entertained throughout the day.
You can also create and plan your own games, just remember to choose individual or small group activities and ones that do not require the children to run around in small spaces.
Stay home and stay safe. Like all hard and difficult times, this too shall pass. Till then, enjoy your time with family and do not forget to applaud the little heroes by being patient with them and keeping them entertained.
Erika Peres is a mother of two energetic boys. She is an entrepreneur who has founded and run companies in South America and Asia and is currently a director at multiple companies. With a passion for sports and lifestyle, she has created a number of activity programmes for children. She is a regular contributor to magazines and blogs. Follow Erika’s updates on her Facebook.