How to keep kids occupied at home


  • Nation
  • Monday, 23 Mar 2020

IPOH: With the movement control order in place, parents are finding it hard to plan activities for children at home. Fortunately, some have shared beneficial daily activities while experts gave advice on the matter.

Housewife N. Redika Kanarasan, 43, said the timetable for her two daughters aged five and 11 included lots of playtime and activities as well as a spa day.

She said the spa day included nail painting and facials using yoghurt and honey.

“I also have science activities like making volcano by putting mentos into a Coke bottle. We also clean toys to be given away.

“Then we also play badminton and football, do a chalk drawing in the porch, play water balloons, do puzzles, colouring and online studies, ” she said.

For self-employed Baljit Kaur, 40, who has two children aged seven and five, she would have activities such as building blocks, reading, making puzzles and board games.

“I also ask them to help me with simple household chores.

“Then they also get time to play cards, indoor sports, zumba, basic exercises, watch cartoon and, not forgetting, study time, ” she said.

Homemaker Joanne Yee, 37, said her nine-year-old son understood the dangers of going out and the possibility of getting infected.

“I showed him videos and articles on what is going on in the country and the world, thus he is aware of the danger.

“Besides doing online school work, he plays online video games, watches movies, engages in arts and crafts, as well as Lego building, ” she said.

Consultant paediatrician and paediatric neurologist Dr Alex Khoo Peng Chuan said in the current situation, children and their parents need to take a break from social media.

“The psychological impact of social media is known to affect mood, sleep and the immune system.

“While it can be positive as many schools are now having online lessons, it can also be negative with children playing online games the whole day and late into the night, ” he said.

Dr Khoo said was important for parents to check images on the gadgets that their children were looking at.

He said the images should be something that invoked calmness and without violence or destructive elements.

“The recommended time is one hour a day and not more than two hours, otherwise they become detached from reality and become antisocial.

“Studies, meals, play and rest. Don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.

“Take time to talk to them, and help them manage stress by getting them to sit down, breathe, get a good meal and talk it out.

“Pay attention to their health. Avoid junk food, reduce the escapism into social media and gadgets, ” said Dr Khoo.

Perak State Education Department (Educational Psychologist) assistant director A. Tharishni said there were a few ways to spend quality time with fun activities with children.

She said parents could introduce circuit indoor training such as hopscotch, hurdles and a trampoline which would be beneficial for balancing and coordination.

“Limit social media and news segments in front of the children to avoid any kind of misinterpretation that can create anxiety.

“Instead, educate children with factual, age-appropriate information about Covid-19 so that they can play a part in avoiding infection, ” she said.

Tharishni said children must complete their homework, besides having fun activities such as dance party and interactive games.

“Teaching children living skills such as baking and simple cooking can encourage creativity and independence, ” she said.

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