With the ongoing pandemic and being indoors with our kids all the time, can be challenging. With the schools being closed, many parents are left wondering how to keep their kids busy, without missing out on their academics.
Keeping your kids healthy, active, and engaged while at home can seem like an impossible challenge, especially for the parents trying to work from home at the same time! But with a bit of planning, home learning can be just as fun as school — or maybe even more fun!
It is important to have a schedule while were learning from home. One thing that is crucial when it comes to a schedule is flexibility. With some routine, you can more easily keep your child on track, and it doesn’t need to be rigid. Sit with your children and come up with a schedule that suits the both of you.
Example: Think about their schedule that they had at school and try to create something similar.
There are many ways to make “not so interesting” school subjects’ fun. We recommend coming up with project ideas. In these projects, your child can delve into any topic that interests them through self-directed research. After, they can create a little presentation for sharing what they’ve learned with you. This is a fantastic way to work on presentation and communication skills, as well as research skills and knowledge on the chosen subject.
Group work is very beneficial for children. Find ways in which your child can keep in touch with their friends, if they have been home for an extended period of time. Video chats and calls with friends are great examples of using the technology in a positive way. Children can also write letters to their friends and loved ones.
“For the young brain, social interaction is a powerful amplifier of reward, and peer group interactions increase dopamine release.” – The Dolphin Parent
Technology can be a scary thing, but it is extremely beneficial to help your child keep learning. There are many online resources to help parents create fun and informative lessons for their children.
Since we are not able to travel, we can take our kids on a virtual tour of cities and teach them about the history of that particular place.
Many museums are also offering virtual tours right now for free, and National Geographic has a great kid’s website.
Sometimes, as parents, we’re so fearful of our children feeling bored that we forget there’s a benefit to boredom. Boredom is a necessary part of development for children. It’s a time when children slow down and puzzle through some of their experiences or find creative ways to entertain themselves.
So, to summarize, when going somewhere to do something fun with their friends isn’t an option, the trick to keeping them engaged is to have a basic routine and plan that your child is ready to follow. This should include free time for play as well as blocks of time dedicated to learning. Learning is going to be different at home. There are more distractions, and it doesn’t feel like a space to sit down and study like school is. Try to make learning fun through helpful technology-based resources and hands-on experimental learning.
To build a Kindness Community, it is important that we start with a younger generation by passing on the values and belief systems that were passed down to us by our parents.
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is in vain." If random kindness isn't easy for you, try this challenge: Do a nice little thing for someone every day. Then pay attention to the effects on you. Does it get easier the more you do it? Take more opportunities and act to be nice in your world. You will start to feel lighter and kinder.
Empathy is one of the most vital Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills you can learn. It means understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings and thoughts of another in an objectively explicit manner. Although having empathy does not necessarily mean we’ll want to help someone in need, though it’s often a vital first step toward compassionate action.
Through empathy, we can connect with others to build strong and healthy relationships in our communities, careers, and personal lives. Unfortunately, being empathetic isn’t something we’re born with, we can begin to see signs of empathy in infancy and the trait develops steadily through childhood and adolescence.
How do we help our children to develop strong empathetic skills? These four tips can get you started.
Your children look up to you for everything, right from skills to how you behave. For instance, they learn how to speak by listening to adult’s converse. Similarly, children learn vital social behaviours and cues by observing how their parents engage with others.
The best way to teach empathy is by being empathetic towards your children. When children understand how it feels to receive it, they will better understand the benefits and the role empathy plays in human relationships.
Empathy is, at its core, the ability to understand feelings and emotions. If a child feels uncomfortable expressing themselves, they’ll shy away from empathizing with these emotions in others.
Children can struggle to pick up on crucial feelings based on a lack of understanding of body language and facial cues at an early age.
As parents, it can be challenging to watch our children struggle with certain emotions. When they’re sad or angry, we want to fix it. However, we shouldn’t always rush to get rid of these “negative” emotions. We should help our children feel emotions such as anger and guilt and teach them that it’s ok to feel them. This way children will be more comfortable showing empathy towards others when they themselves can feel it.
Talk about empathy in a way your children can understand. For example, phrase things that clearly illustrate the feeling and why the other person may be feeling that way. Try giving them situations and by asking them what they would have done. For example-
“In the restroom at school, one student gets teased and pushed into a stall by other kids. Imagine you're a kid watching this interaction. How do you demonstrate empathy?
If they cannot come up with solutions right away, tell them how they can approach the given situation at hand. For Example,
First, you remember what it is like to be picked on. You may wait until the bullies have left and help the kid out of the stall. You could also show compassionate empathy and take action by reporting the bullying to an adult.”
As parents we can help by phrasing things in this way that outlines other’s feelings and emotions. Ask your child to put themselves in the headspace of a time when they may have felt frustrated and sad for the same reason. Finally, ask your child to find a way to help their friend in a way that works for them.
Media can be a handy tool for teaching empathy. Children can become very
attached to characters in their favourite shows and books. There are also many children’s
books that discuss feelings.
Try some of these:
In our modern world, empathy is more important than ever before. Without empathy, people tend to go about life without considering how other people feel or what they may be thinking. Each of us has differing perspectives. We all experience moods, pain and hurt, joy and sadness. And we are so limited when we only see our own perspective. Without taking a moment to assess another, it is easy to make assumptions and jump to conclusions. This often leads to misunderstandings.
Empathy allows us to understand better the struggles and experiences of those who are different from us.
As we collectively navigate a global pandemic and re-evaluate racial bias and injustice in our communities, it’s essential to recognize the importance of empathy.