Columnists,Lorraine Cattell,Main Slider,Top Story l by Lorraine Cattell l 7 Apr 2020     - 203

COVID – 19 – FOR THE LOVE OF OUR CHILDREN


I love the old proverb, 'It takes a village to raise a child', meaning an entire community of people will look out for the local children. It very much reminds me of the small rural villages that I travelled through during my visit to Sri Lanka in 2018/2019. Sadly, the COVID-19 virus outbreak which is affecting the whole world is having a direct impact on our children. Lockdowns, curfews and the things they hear about the pandemic will be causing them great anxiety. Regardless of your child's age, they will especially need reassurance, encouragement and ways to combat the monotony of being at home. 

In this article, 'For the Love of Our Children', I'd like to share with you a few helpful tips on overcoming their distress and some cool activity ideas for children of all ages, taken from my childhood and from my experience as a mother of two, to beat boredom when stuck indoors. All can be played happily at home with other members of the family and will help youngsters learn, have fun and feel good about themselves. 

Fears & Anxieties 

There is no greater love than a parent's love for their children, but unfortunately, these 'little people' react to situations, in part, on the basis of what they observe in the adults around them. Although not all children respond in the same manner, they do need to know what is happening around them in a way that they can understand. This most certainly involves talking to them in an honest, simple, calm and confident manner which is appropriate for each child's age. Children can so easily pick up on their parents’ fears and anxieties and will invariably look for clues on how to act. It can get really hard to explain to them why they have to stay inside and you’ll be able to reassure them that they are safe if your words and actions describe a picture that is realistic and manageable. Finally, whilst children are at home without their regular daily routine, encourage them to talk, to describe what they are feeling, while finding ways to emphasise that life will return to normal. 

Indoor Leisure Activities 

Although children of different ages have dissimilar needs and interests, playing with younger and older siblings can enhance learning and understanding. If their attention span is short, they will need an activity or game that will keep them occupied and create lots of excitement. The time you also spend together with them will help create warm memories for a lifetime, especially during a crisis. So what can they do indoors: 

  • Build a Den or Cosy Hideout – Dens are the perfect place for games, playing with toys, story-telling, reading and enjoying a few snacks. Using chairs, sofas or even tables arranged in a square for the main structure they can create a cosy den with blankets, duvets and sheets for coverings, and lots of cushions and pillows scattered inside to be comfortable. Children love dens because they can use their imaginations to create a range of scenarios and environments. They also feel like it's their secret place where they can enjoy hours of fun and entertainment out of the sight of adults. 
  • Organise a Pretend Birthday Party/Tea Party for their Favourite Toy – Most children love parties and just as you would organise a celebration for your child, you can host a party for one of their toys. Create the perfect party mood with music, snacks, balloons (if you have them), and some fun and active games such as 'Sock Basketball', which only requires your child to roll socks into a ball and then take turns to shoot the ball into a laundry basket.
  • Sandpits with Rice – Young toddlers love playing with sand because it's super messy, but rice grains are easier to clean up and can be just as entertaining. You need a large bowl part-filled with uncooked rice and some spoons, bowls, cups, balls, toys and empty plastic bottles to play with. This kind of activity encourages your child to create imaginary worlds and stories. Of course, you can do the same with water. 

There are many other easy activities that your children can enjoy around the home such as treasure hunts, drawing and painting, baking biscuits and kids’ gym. If you have a garden, even a small one, they can experiment with growing plants, herbs or vegetables too. The most important thing as a parent is to be proactive, available and supportive... reassure them that you are there to help them through this difficult and confusing time. 

My last thoughts are for my friends and the wonderful people of Sri Lanka – Stay safe and adhere to the recommendation to stay at home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to others – You are all in my prayers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lorraine Cattell

Lorraine Cattell (Eyre) is a renowned international British Fashion Journalist. Her articles & interviews appear regularly in magazines & online across the globe.

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