For musician Gurupriya Atreya, the lockdown has meant going back in time with her four-year-old daughter. “When we were kids, we were hardly taken out to be entertained. We made do with whatever we had, and now, as I come up with options to keep my daughter engaged and entertained during this lockdown phase, I feel like I am reliving my childhood all over again,” she explains, even as her little one does a spot of messy gardening in their balcony.
It’s not easy for parents, particularly those with small kids, to juggle office, home, and ensure that their kids don’t turn cranky or irritable in this confined state. When everything, from amusement parks and malls to movies and play dates, are out of bounds, it’s these parents who don their thinking caps and come up with innovative ideas to keep their tots occupied and amused. Here’s how parents get going when the going itself gets tough…
Fun in the kitchen
For her daughter’s birthday, Kavitha got her child to help her bake the birthday cake. “We had a low-key celebration at home owing to the lockdown. Obviously, we couldn’t buy a cake, so we decided to make one in the cooker and I got my daughter to help me with it.” Meenakshi adds, “I’ve got my daughter to touch and feel all the spices and have taught her to differentiate between pulses and different varieties of rice. By doing this, children develop an interest in cooking as this is kinesthetic intelligence (touching and feeling).”
Modify traditional games
There’s only so much of slithering down the snakes and inching up the ladders a child can enjoy. So, Ramanan Arunachalam, father of a four-year-old daughter, made his own version of the popular board game Snakes and Ladders. Gurupriya has introduced her child to traditional games like Pallanguzhi, chowka baara, and even taught her how to make a kite. Psychologist Meenakshi Dinesh gave her eight-year-old daughter a suitcase to pack her clothes and personal items in. “By doing this, the kid will develop spatial intelligence, a brain activity that will enable them to be creative,” she says.
Get them to do housework
“I let my daughter do small things, like cleaning her play room, watering the plants, and laying the table,” says Gurupriya. Dinesh S feels that getting children to participate in house work, albeit in small doses, equips them with life lessons. Father to a 10-year-old son, he says, “I get my son to sweep the house and dust the shelves. By involving them in the house work, they will definitely learn what it takes to run a house. It will not just be a physical activity, but also a life lesson.”
Quiz time with kids
Kavitha Mathan has her two kids, aged 11 and 7, hooked to quiz time on WhatsApp. “A friend and I took turns to host a quiz on a WhatsApp group, and my kids helped frame the questions, create presentations and even kept track of the scores.”