The spike in Covid-19 cases recently brought back restrictions from the government with schools moving to home-based learning once again. With the coronavirus strain mutating and now attacking children, you need to be all the more cautious when stepping out of the house.
This also means that you will be spending a lot of time indoors and that can create some friction when it comes to addressing everyone’s needs. While the school may be shut, studies and other activities need not be, and maintaining a healthy routine is essential.
This is important not just for their home-based learning but for your work-from-home schedule as well.
With preschoolers, this becomes all the more important as you try to channelise their energy towards more productive tasks throughout the day.
That’s why we’ve compiled information about fun learning activities for kindergarten children with guidelines from the National Library Board to make this home-based learning period more exciting.
When Children Interrupt Too Frequently
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Addressing your child’s needs and at times tantrums can consume a lot of energy, eating into your work time. That’s why you need to demarcate the time slots beforehand to ensure your professional commitments do not take a hit.
Speak to your child beforehand about your work hours during the day when you don’t want them to disturb you.
You can put up a chart that shows the work hours when your kids can’t interrupt you, especially when you have virtual calls or a presentation to address.
For preschool and primary school kids, consider using visual cues to signify when you are or not available. A fun way could be creating a traffic light kind of set up for yourself. Green means available, and red means busy.
For children in upper primary, you can have a more one-on-one conversation.
Consider limited requests to them during work hours. So if they need something, your child will have to prioritise which need requires parental attention. This is a great way for the child to learn self-discipline and make an attempt to resolve problems themselves.
At the same time, make sure your child has an understanding of skills like preparing a snack, washing dishes, and so on, so they do not disturb you for petty tasks. This does get annoying when you repeatedly have to get up to address small needs.
As parents, you too will need to sit work your schedule in such a way that you can find time to address the more complex issues they come to you with.
Also, remember they are children and adjust your expectations accordingly.
When Your Child Is Bored
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With home-based learning and no signs of stepping out of the house anytime soon, it’s only natural that the interesting activities will dry up fast.
But giving your child a choice on how he would like to spend their breaks and free time will help them have a sense of ownership.
For children in lower primary, have a pre-determined set of activities will not only help keep them occupied, but you can always tweak it to match their schedule as well as yours.
For older students in upper primary, allow them to make their own activity time table and incorporate the same in their daily schedule.
You can also use this time to bond with your child by aligning your free schedule with theirs.
Try solving puzzles together, or read a book, or simply play boardgames. Both you and your little one need this time to relax.
When Children Can’t Focus To Complete Schoolwork
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With active schools, children have a set pattern of waking up, bedtime, school, classes, playtime and more. A lot of it is usually gone for a toss during home-based learning, which is why you need to set a schedule and stick to it as much as you can.
This will help your child achieve the right balance between work, play, rest, and sleep. While you’re at it, create a similar schedule for yourself so that you don’t end up burnt either at the end of the day.
One of the things that always work are incentives to complete tasks. If your child seems lazy or unwilling, promise them their favourite snack at the end of the day or extra playtime. You can incentivise your own time too. Done with a presentation at work? Reward yourself with a glass of wine, maybe?
Creating a schedule also helps children remain focused on the task at hand. They know they have an assignment to complete and need to do so in a specific amount of time.
Teach them to identify and make a note of parts they don’t understand and may need help with, while they continue to complete other tasks. You can always help them out later or keep those questions for the class teacher.
Settling into a routine takes time and may feel tedious at times. But do not be distracted and procrastinate yourself into extending work or school hours.
When Children Spend Too Much Time In Front Of The Screen
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Children need to spend time lesser time in front of the black mirror. But with HBL, that’s hardly possible. Nevertheless, you can always control it by following a strict schedule. Much like school hours, the screen time for leisure needs to be regulated for children.
Make sure you follow through when the scheduled time is over.
Try and distract your child into another task to avoid them throwing tantrums.
Experts suggest that primary students need to take a break every 30 minutes of screen time.
As a parent, lead by example and follow the same during work hours. Take regular breaks from the laptop or phone, and switch to a different task to avoid fatigue setting in.
It would be even better to stretch, take a walk or grab a snack through the day.
Use screen time to learn new skills
While your screen time can’t be avoided, it surely can be productive. Use it to as a learning tool for your children.
With an overwhelming amount of content available online, you can select from documentaries, informative shows or even or DIY videos that help them develop a skill at the end of the day. You can check out:
DIY craft videos on YouTube – which they can recreate offline
Singapore Science Centre’s Youtube Channel
National Geographic Kids
Use screen time to bond with your child
Make sure to also use the screen time to bond with your little one. You can align your screen times together for a movie or show and watch it as a family. Also try:
Workout videos for kids
Cooking videos that involve creating snacks where your children can help out
Virtual museum tours
Virtual Travel sites and more
You can also download a number of e-books and audiobooks online instantly and listen to them with your child.
And of course, with social media apps like Instagram and TikTok, there’s always the fun lip-sync videos or short-form sketches that you can explore. Who knows you might just be the next viral sensation online!
Fun Learning Activities For Kindergarten Kids
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You can incorporate a number of mental and physical activities to keep your little one’s mind sharp even behind closed doors. Try these games during HBL.
One person thinks of an object around the house and provides hints about the object to other family members by saying, “I spy something black and flat.”
Other members need to guess the object, and the first person to guess it correctly wins a point. Each member gets a chance. Limit the number of guesses to make it more exciting.
One person decides on a shape like a triangle, square, rectangle, oval and more. Other members looks for objects in that shape. Members need to identify as many objects as possible in that shape.
Limit each game to five minutes to keep the action going.
Hide an object somewhere in the house. Then draw a map of the house leaving clues around the house to get from one point to the other. You need to finally make it to the part marked as ‘X’ on the map to find the treasure.
Choose an object that you need to balance over your head. Walk across the room with the object over your head. The person who completes the walk without dropping the object wins a point.
Up the ante by adding more objects and walking faster to make it more fun.
Balancing between responsibilities at work and home won’t be easy. But a schedule certainly will help make things organised. It will also help your child and you to cope up with the pandemic in a better fashion than most other people.
At the same time, make sure to connect with extended family members and friends that can help you with tasks occasionally and also discover new ideas about spending your time productively at home.
Remember, we’re all in this together and with a little support and effort, this too shall pass. Until then, stay home and stay safe!
Information source: National Library Board