When the world first understood what lockdown was going to be, it left everyone worried. However it has also made way for some family time & has become a unique period for parents to bond with their children. Especially, for moms it is an ideal opportunity to carve out some much-needed us-time with their kids.
Since the initial days, mothers have been concerned about handling kids indoors continuously for several days, as their schools shut and they were alienated from their friends & playmates. In times like these, children demand attention, feel scared, find themselves unable to cope with their feelings and shut themselves out by browsing the internet. It is thus possible that managing the child’s aloofness or irritation could be a mother’s added chore.
So the question rests on every mom’s mind - HOW do I make happy and safe spaces for my kids?
Here is some expert advice from clinical psychologist Dr. Prerna Kohli to facilitate mother-child bonding & making safe spaces for kids this lockdown.
Taking care of emotional needs
- Children are cut off from their friends and school teachers. Their whole life and routines have been disrupted, so it’s natural for them to act out. Encouraging creativity of kids and having heart-to-heart talks with them, helps make them feel emotionally safe. Be a supportive and reassuring parent in case they act moody. Tell them you’re there for them when needed.
- You can think out of the box ideas to ensure you pique children’s curiosity and develop their creativity. Plan some karaoke nights together or spend time to revisit childhood photo albums. You can also schedule some fun online activities like a game night with cousins or re-create some easy family recipes in the kitchen.
- Moms & children can co-create & collaborate on several activities like indoor picnics, doing kid-friendly science experiments, spring cleaning together, playing charades with the whole family, or DIY home crafts. They can even listen to podcasts or music together. This will keep them meaningfully involved & will help you connect better with your children.
Watch Episode 1 of #SafeSpaces to learn more.
Ensuring safe online browsing
- The internet can either be a wonderful world of discoveries or a terrible home of bullies, scammers and sexual predators. So ensuring your kids are safe online is important in these times when they are spending more time on the web.
- Talk to them about cyber safety. How much they should share, what they should consume, which websites to visit, enticing ads they must avoid, what to do if being bullied etc.
- Make sure you’re talking to them more in this time and keeping an eye out on any change in routines due to any online bullying they might be facing.
- Try to avoid much screen time in general and engage in good-old-days activities like solving puzzles, doing a small treasure hunt at home or make cardboard forts together. You can even write letters to each other or other family members as a way to engage your kids in a non-screen activity.
Watch Episode 2 of #SafeSpaces to learn more.
Having some mommy and me-time
- Keeping your kids occupied during quarantine is challenging. It’s about balancing fun and games with learning and teaching. So you can involve your kids in skill enhancing activities like learning a musical instrument, doing arts & crafts or learning a new language or dance moves.
- Involving your kids in household activities is a great way to teach them important life skills. This way you also get some help in house chores. Do simple tasks together like folding the laundry, tending to your garden, watering the plants, making simple recipes, laying or clearing the table etc.
- You can also teach them other essential life skills like sewing, recycling objects and basic cooking in this period. If your kids are older, you can teach them budgeting, ironing and teach them how to use tools and fix things.
- You can also meditate and exercise together. You can also learn and practise the basics of yoga together. These activities also help in improving focus while also improving physical and mental health.
Watch Episode 3 of #SafeSpaces to learn more.
Encouraging open conversations
- It is worrying when children don’t initiate conversations with you about things that bother them. Your bond fading away is another fear. Which is why increasing communication and having conversations is important. It makes kids feel loved and wanted and also increases their confidence.
- Read up on their favourite topics and talk to them about those. Ask about their friends, the kind of games they like etc. Make sure you do more than small talk. Clearly communicate with them, and teach them how to advocate for themselves when needed.
- Teach them important conversation skills including listening skills, non-verbal communication, using proper and respectful vocabulary and encourage introspection so they learn how to process their feelings and talk about them.
- Use inspirational stories you know about real people to teach your children about important qualities and values. Panchatantra, Jataka and Amar Chitra Katha comics are a good way to teach kids about morals and values.
Watch Episode 4 of #SafeSpaces to learn more.