The other day when I went to drop my child to school, I saw a few parents (whose kids were in nursery) involved in a discussion. Post participating in it, I learnt what was it about and how dropping their little ones to school is the most difficult part of their day, even when it’s just a matter of 3.5 hours till their kids return home. One of the mom got a bit emotional and expressed her distress of juggling household chores and professional commitments. She felt her child being neglected at an age when they require them the most. Isn’t this feeling relatable amongst most of the working parents?
Our fast-paced and modern lifestyle has resulted us in offering our kids expensive things like gadgets, toys etc which a kid values only for a few days. High disposable incomes has led to this kind of unnecessary pampering which is usually attributed to our guilt within (of not spending enough time with them). Life no doubt sometimes turns quite noisy, busy and jam-packed with kids around. So, now the question arises as how much quality times does a child require? For positive outcomes with kids, quantity of time doesn’t matter, it’s the quality and meaningful time spent with them each day that gets counted.
Research reiterates that there isn’t any defined time to be spent with a child as long as you are engaged with your kids in any creative activity which in-turn helps children to enhance their creative thinking.
As it’s said, children start learning even before they are born, so no wonder parents are called their 1st teachers. It’s the parents who make an impact in how children learn, observe things around & in the way they think. Therefore, it’s essential to keep encouraging their curiosity and inspire new ideas using everyday experiences. Family time has direct impact on a child’s social and emotional development as it nurtures the feeling of self-worth and helps younger kids to express and build their language skills. Through this, a child opens up with parents and communicates their feelings with ease.
Here’s list of activities that can be part of our day to day routine along with our Kiddos. The materials for each of the activities can be purchased days in advance so that you could make and keep it ready when the child is in school or could be done along with them in free time.
- Indoor Scavenger hunt
Kids love hunting things! This is the best childhood memory when asked to any grown- ups. The game helps getting some good exercise for both mind and body. An indoor scavenger hunt is a great way to add some excitement to the day.
One way is to merge playtime with reading. So, what you have to do is, select 3 story or any knowledge-based books and hide it around at any place at home. Give them a clue e.g.- Hey I have got an exciting game for us to play, are you thrilled to know what it is? There is something that is hiding and waiting for you to find it. Well it’s the place you keep your head and sleep on. Do you know what it is? When the child answers Pillow and finds it, the next step is to read aloud. If the child is small, an adult can read while the child listen’s and if the child is older enough to read then the other participants have to be the listeners. The hunt continues until every book has been found and read. Your kids will get moving and reading!
- Making meal time more fun
Health of a child is major concern for parents. Making children part of their meal routines, choosing what they prefer to eat and preparing together can be one way to help build their resilience. You could involve children in washing fruit and vegetables, chopping, grating, peeling, stirring, setting the table, serving or cleaning up later.
The other day, I involved my child in decorating some chopped fruits and I was happy to see her create a cute lil juggling bunny.
So, let your child ‘Explore’ taking small risks to try new things!
- Board When They Are Bored!
Create board games at home. It’s the best leisure activity to play with family members or with their friend’s. Playing a board game serves the purpose of both education and entertainment.
I had a lovely time with my kiddo creating our own board game -Snake & Ladder. The theme of the game was ‘Quick Bites’, basically to fasten-up her evening snack time!
A carboard/ empty box any cereal
Paper to create flag
To play- Your child could select his/her favourite character for the game. Here instead of a dice, let the child pick a number card which will be easy for them to recognize it and move their characters forward. At every hurdle, pops up a task to perform. Considering what you want your child to eat for evening snacks, the task can be planned as per the child’s liking & preference. E.g.- While playing with my kid, we had the following food items (hurdles) displayed on the board – ‘Eat a cheese cube; Have a glass of milk, 1 oats ladoo; Have pieces of banana; Carrot dhokla; Dates nut ladoo’. What was noticed is that she enjoyed eating as well as playing the game.
You could re-use the board to keep different themes whenever you wish to play, likewise the tasks could be ‘Sing a nursery rhyme; Count numerical; Ask a riddle, Spell a word’ , Stomp like an elephant and so on. The winner will be whoever completes the task and reaches the end destination.
- Quizzes for good mindset
Quizzes help kids improve their language skills in a fun way.
What you require is- A box filled with sand and 20 items including toy animals, plastic fruits, alphabets, toy transportation and so on.
Let’s play- Sand is a great sensory toy for kids and encourages imaginative play. Kids have to dig-up the sand and pick each item one by one. If the child picks a horse, an adult will ask a question related to it, likewise what is the young one of a horse called? answer – Colt; if an aeroplane is picked the question could be Aeroplane starts with which letter/alphabet? Answer; if a car has been picked -how many wheels does a car have? Accordingly, the questions can be made tougher basis age of a child.
- Quiet Time Activities
This will help you give ways to get your kids to bed without a fight. The below techniques will help the kids to have quiet time before they go to sleep.
Together sit down with your kid and discuss the things that went good that day. List down in the dairy and keep a space to paste a picture if any specific event held that day. Pray together thanking God for keeping them safe, express your love and give them confidence that you will always be with them. Calming activities have the power to change child’s interest and communicate well.
Story Building jars-
Grab an empty jar and some torn blank papers. On each piece of paper write a random word which could be anything such as rabbit, carrot, windmill, rain or waterfall . Put all the pieces of paper inside the jar. Then ask your child to pick out any 5 pieces of paper out of 15 kept in the jar. Whichever words appear on those papers, either an adult can build-up a story if the child is small or the child can attempt to tell a story out of those words and if gets stuck, adults can help in. This activity will help kids to become creative, confident and competent learners.
I hope these simple and effective tips will further help to strengthen parent-child relationship.