Little Miss A’s Guide to Staying Indoors
Like most kids in India and around the world, the Coronavirus pandemic has forced Little Miss A to stay indoors over the next few weeks. We are on Day 5 of cancelled school and classes; and there is the added scepticism towards organising play dates.
Keeping an active toddler entertained at home is no cake walk. Here’s how I plan on optimising this forced time-off at home with her.
Plan your Day
So what if every plan, event, class or meeting is getting cancelled this week. There is no reason for your child to lose structure in his or her day. I plan on having a routine chalked out for Little Miss A for the next few days. I am going try and stick to her usual sleep and meal times and plan for various activities around this schedule. Account for a reading hour, time to do some arts and craft, independent play and find a way to clock in some physical activities indoors (Our monkey bar is a blessing these days).
One could even assign themes to each day and plan around it – for instance – yesterday, we spent our morning reading our favourite books about penguins and other animals that live in the polar regions.
What we Read? – Penguin Problems, Be Brave Little Penguin, On The Trail of the Whale
Activities – we played with artificial snow, brought out our polar animal figurines (Wild Republic Nature Tubes)
Making Food Fun – we even treated ourselves to whipped cream and chocolate sauce (Because, why not? =D )
This brings me to my next point…
Bookish Play for the idle Child
There has never been a better time to raise a reader! Especially if you have been asked to take time off work as well, make the most of the extra time to bring out some old favourites, classics and contemporary children’s books to start reading a few together. For instance, you are no longer in a hurry to finish your meals on time, bring out a book or two, read together while your child finishes the meal, engage in conversation about the story, ask leading questions or even sing songs that connect to the theme of the story in question. Connect back the activities do you do in the day with the books that you read – read “Hugh’s Blue Day”? Make your child wear blue all day, point out all the blue things around, bring out your crayons and colour in objects that are blue!
Create some extra joy in the act of sitting together and reading.
At times, when I lose patience or need some time to get work done, I bring out Little Miss A’s old board and touch & feel books, prop her in front of her dolls so she can read to them instead.b
Bring out books with themes that appeal to your child to keep them busy slightly longer than they usually would. Little Miss A loves EVERYTHING spooky and “dark dark” – our copy of First Day at Skeleton School has become an essential everyday-read.
Sensory Play for the Restless Child
I have found that when Little Miss A is extremely restless, bringing out sensory play is a great way to calm her down. Bubble wrap, shaving foam, slime, clay, Flour + food colour, uncooked rice or any other texture you find in your home can turn into interesting invitations to play.
Bring out your amazon boxes, packaging material, waste fabric, newspapers, paint and glue and enjoy the benefits of open ended play with scraps from your home. Child-led sensory play can result in some magical outcomes.
*Simple tips – if your child’s enjoys glue, let them rub their hands with glue and spend a few minutes peeling out the dry flakes.
Each one of these activities contribute to your child’s cognitive development, hand-eye coordination and believe it or not – eating habits.
Let them Get Bored
Ever since she was able to Little Miss A has been going to some form of school or class, even during the summer and winter breaks. This is probably the first time in her toddler life that she going to be home all the time with no external activity to rely on. I would like to look at this as an opportunity to finally allow her to be bored and give her imagination a chance to take its own life. Over the past few days, she has spent her days pretending to be a “good” witch, a warrior princess, a baby wolf, a humpback whale and a penguin.
Don’t be a Screen Nazi
Little Miss A has typically not spent over 20 minutes a week on the screen. While this started off as a method of minimising screen time while she is young, over the years it just became a way of life. That said, over the next few weeks, I definitely intend to be a lot more liberal with her screen. That said, it is always good to be vigilant about what content you expose the little ones to.
Little Miss A Recommends – We began watching a few minutes of “Our Planet” on Netflix together a few days ago, and honestly there couldn’t be a more apt show to watch now. It is gorgeously created, making it extremely appealing to Little Miss A while hitting the right chord for me as an adult.
I am also getting more aware of the lack of social interaction she is going to experience over the next few weeks. I intend to set up a few FaceTime chats for her with her closest friends, hoping it will keep her and her friends’ spirits high.
That said, the past and the next few weeks may be a critical event in some form or the other in the lives of our little ones. It may even redefine their “normal” in ways we aren’t able to perceive yet. Find ways to keep the conversation going, talk to them about what is going on, why life is different and what grown ups are doing to stabilise things as fast as they can, what they can do to help – provide information that allows them to be responsible future caretakers of the world.