You’re staying home a lot these days, trying to keep your family safe and healthy. With daycares and schools closed down for a lot of children, parents are spending more time with their children than ever. Having to stay home means you miss taking your child to the park, on errands, and just getting out to show them the world. While you of course love your child, it can certainly be mentally trying to constantly care for them in a situation where you experience the same thing every day, as well as having to juggle working from home and tending to household chores.
And having multiple young children that you have to entertain is a challenge all its own without just putting them in front of a screen (we already know that screen time for children AND adults has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic).
So how can you occasionally break up this cycle and keep life fresh for you and your children?
The trick is to keep in mind the value of this time and turn a negative into a positive. This time with them is so precious and short-lived, and especially valuable for newborns and up to age 2yo. They are learning so much and growing so fast during this time that it is so important to take advantage of this time by educating them as much as you can. This is specifically why Nuryl takes advantage of this learning window to help stimulate your child’s brain with our High-Information music.
Finding new things to do with your children is a constant challenge but here are some suggestions to get the ideas flowing:
For Children Under 2
- Practice linguistics. Children learn by mimicking what they see and hear and talking with your child helps them learn your language. Pretty soon, you will see them repeat what you are saying, and you may even get them to say your name first instead of your spouses!
- Reading books is another way to help them grow and strengthen their linguistic abilities. They will love the bonding time as well.
- Playing games like Peek-A-Boo and Clap With Me is a great way to engage their curiosity. Making faces as well and even placing their hands on your face helps them understand how facial expressions are used to communicate.
- Using toys like blocks and puzzles work wonders in developing their dexterity and problem-solving abilities. You helping them find the answers will also help with their memory recall when you play the game next time.
- Introducing them to music is a great way to stimulate their brains. The Nuryl curriculum offers pre-conceived playlists of High-Information music for just this purpose, each monthly playlist having new and interesting pieces that are sure to keep them thinking. We also encourage parents to expose their children to the music they love as well, to help keep their children’s listening routines well-rounded.
- Helping them become familiar with different instruments will help feed their curiosity and possibly foster a lifetime of interest in music.
- Don’t forget tummy time! This is critical for developing their neck and upper body strength while allowing them to visually explore the world around them.
For the Toddlers and Up
- Try out some yoga poses and encourage your children to practice with you. The mental and physical health benefits are wonderful, as well as being a great way to calm them down.
- Blanket forts are always a great way of encouraging creativity and problem-solving. Not to mention bringing out the parents’ inner-child!
- Create flashcards to quiz them on their letters, numbers, and even words for reading. Gamifying it this way is a great way for them to learn.
- Playing games like concentration will enhance their problem solving and memory capacities.
- Cooking a meal together gets them interested in creating something from scratch, and gives them a sense of pride when they finish. It may even foster a lifetime interest in the culinary arts. And what child doesn’t love to eat?!
- Remember that it is ok to go outside and get some fresh air. Going on small, socially-distanced walks and hikes is a great way to get exercise, still show them the world, and get that valuable vitamin D that we all need to keep us healthy!
- See if you can reach a goal where the child gets up to 1 hour of physical activity time per day. This may seem overwhelming at first but remember you can break this up into smaller segments so everyone doesn’t get bored or restless. Along with being good for their bodies, it also helps expend their extra energy allowing them to be more peaceful and able to go to sleep when necessary.
- Challenge your children to create their own games for you to participate in. This helps stir up their imagination and tells them that you want to learn more about what they are interested in. It also lets them know they are in control of playtime. Children are always looking for acceptance by their parents and this reinforces that concept for them by challenging them to make decisions and take the lead.
- Join relatives for daily video chats so the children can interact and see their loved ones. This will help build the social interaction they need at this age as well as serve to create some excitement in their day.
- Make sure to have dedicated quiet time where your child looks at books or plays with toys on their own. It’s important they understand that alone time is good for them and necessary for everyone to have their own space sometimes.
- If you have multiple children, be sure to make time for one-on-one time with each of them. This teaches them that they are special and loved equally by their parents.
Keep in mind that all this interaction does not have to last for hours. In fact, research suggests that spending 15 minutes or less interacting with your children can have the lasting impact that they need to gain the positivity they seek.
The longer this time stretches out, everyone starts to get bored, tired, hungry, or focused on other things, and this is often where the negativity starts. Of course as parents, there are always chores that need to be done or work from home, and this rationed time helps to reinforce to the child that this time with their parents is special. Shorter playtime equally helps the parent prevent guilty feelings that work is not getting accomplished.
Also don’t forget that all this spending time with your child will most likely result in higher IQs for the child, resulting in better cognitive and linguistics skills. There is certainly no question that this increased social time of having one or both of the parents involved in their daily lives will help their child to become more balanced and socially advanced. According to an article in Scientific American, fathers are spending much more time with their children during the pandemic, and this results in better emotional stability for the child as well as increased confidence and less depression later in life. The skills your child learns now can translate to a multitude of successful outcomes for them as they get older, and that’s what we all want from our children. Not to mention the increased positive energy resulting from playing with your child. You are the role model for social interaction so make sure to praise your child for the positive behaviors they exhibit, while ignoring the negative ones. You may even find them becoming more affectionate and less likely to have behavioral issues, and that is a big win for any parent!
Certainly, a lot of the daily routines that we perform can of course become such chores when it seems that is all you do, but all these activities will serve to create a wonderful learning and bonding time for you and your child, and having both parents involved teaches them the values of a positive family relationship.