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Helpful tips on how to engage kids during lockdown

… To engage our kids, we must structure our home properly

Written BY: Sandra Ani

As it were, our kids went to school, church, recreational centers and attended other social activities, like birthday parties, picnics etc. But for the past two months, nothing of such has happened to them and for them. They are just at home.

Are your kids worried about this already? Have they started asking you questions like; Daddy when are we resuming school? Or, Mummy when are we going to church?  Or, Dad! Are we going to ShopRite tomorrow? Etc.

It’s just normal for them to feel nostalgic this period. Things have changed and we have to find ways to make them feel better. From the way they have been engaged, I would say our kids had a routine before now.

So what routine have you been able to put your kids through since the lockdown?

I have 3 amazing kids; ages, 4.4months, 2.10months and 1.6months. Two boys and a girl. The energy the boys exert is out of this world. If you have kids within this age bracket you will relate better.

Below are steps to take to ensure a stable Routine that will engage your kids and help them psychologically.

Steps to take;

1) Pray with them: This should be the first action you take with your children daily. Once your kids are awake have your morning devotion with them. Teach them to pray and allow them to pray in their capacity.

2) Bathe them early: This will help them get ready for the day feeling energized. Don’t leave them till its 5pm before you shower them. When they went to school you showered them before 8am.

3) Serve their food early: it’s a lot easier to engage a well fed child than a hungry child. Give them breakfast in time, don’t relent because they are not rushing to school, do the needful at the appropriate time. 

4) Do not switch on the Television before study:  This is a golden rule!

Most parents try to engage their kids with television all the time. NO!  If that was all they did in school I’m sure you wouldn’t take them back to that school again.

You must engage your kids the right way. Even the bible says; there is time for everything. Your kids should be able to review what they learnt the previous day. If you taught them numbers, engage them to write numbers 12345…

Children should refresh their memory first. Don’t turn on the Television without engaging them academically.  Once the kids are done with their books, they will be eager to watch the TV and they will sit at a place to watch without destroying your breakables.

5) Teach them: This basically is the essence of this article. What to teach our kids this period to get them well engaged. It will be detrimental to leave our children on the Screen from morning till night without impacting them daily.

What are you teaching your kids?

Stern from experience kids learn in a creative way. You must be creative in teaching them.

I expect you to craft a time-table for them, my kids have one.

Here is the list of subjects I teach my kids and how I teach them.

Mathematics, Painting, storytelling, English, Asusu Igbo(Igbo Language) ,  CRK, Basic Science/ Primary science,  Verbal Reasoning/Quantitative reasoning,  Current Affairs, Songs, Computer  and Phonics.

There’re a lot of materials you can source online too. Like some songs that teach them numbers and alphabets etc.

You can allot 2hrs to teach them in the morning, an hour at noon, and then 30mins in the evening, just to review what was taught to them before they sleep.

Creative ways to teach and engage them

Mathematics:  If you are teaching them mathematics, and they can write from numbers 1-100 is time to advance to 200. Guide them and get them engaged to write sequentially. One of the creative ways I applied for my boys to engage them is to use the desktop to write.

This is a digital age and time, so you need to start early to expose them to technology as much as you can.

If you have a laptop you can teach your child/children to type with it. It’s very engaging and fun for them. This has a ripple effect too; they are getting use to the computer while also learning to write their numbers. Just create a folder for them. You can be reading bedside them while they sit down and type.

Painting: Kids love to paint a lot. Buy some education materials like crayon, pencil and Posta colour. You can draw shapes for them in a sheet of paper and ask them to paint. I usually use a cardboard paper. Painting is usually engaging for kids. Just have plenty drawings. They will sit at a place and paint.

Story telling: On the day of storytelling, you can tell them bible stories. Children love to listen to stories, infact they are also story tellers. So parents and children will definitely have an amazing moment doing this. This can be very engaging too.

English: This is a universal language. You must ensure your kids can speak it and write it. You can engage your kids in this subject by dictating words for them to spell. Use their textbooks as a guide. Read books to them and allow them read as well.

Igbo Language: I noticed the lingua franca was taking its dominance in my home. So I made it mandatory to speak our local dialect to my children. Asusu Igbo is a subject I teach my children consciously. I started with parts of the body, then to taking them round the house and mention to them items like chair, cutleries in our local dialect. When you send them on errands you don’t need to scream for them to understand you again, because you already taught them.

CRK: On the day we have Christian Religious Knowledge I get exciting stories from the bible to educate my kids. They have their “Book of Bible Story” a bible with illustrations. They love to listen to stories and this can be very fun and lifting. Tell you kids captivating bible stories.

Primary and Basic science is an important subject for our kids. Teach them extensively. You can Go online and source materials to teach. Teach them about their environment etc.

Verbal and quantitative reasoning is an IQ booster. Use your kid’s textbook to teach them. Those two subjects can be very engaging too. 

Current Affairs: If I asked your child the president of Nigeria, will your child answer correctly? Does your child know the current situation? Do they know how many states we have in Nigeria; can they recite them to you? We must teach our children what they need to know, the basics.

Songs: My kids are always excited whenever its time to sing. On this day we rehearse old songs (worship songs). And also learn new songs. It’s usually embarrassing when you have morning devotion and you are the only one singing, you just wished your kids could sing with you. This is the time to teach them those songs. When teaching them, record their voices and play it to them in your phone. I usually connect mine to a speaker to be loud enough. You can go to your kitchen and pick that beans you want to cook while they are listening to their songs.

Computer:  the easiest way to teach your kids computer is by letting them work with it. Let them write with it often. By identifying letters and numbers they are gaining knowledge.

Phonics: This is an interesting subject. I teach my kids this subject with the help of YouTube videos. Play it for them and they will learn.

Some days in the week I dress my kids up as if they are going to school and have them sit for lessons in our living room. This can be very inspiring. Try it.

On Sundays too, we dress up and come to the living room for home-church. We just connect to our church service online and enjoy. You can use a tablet or laptop for a better visibility.

There are lots of things to teach your children, I might not have exhausted them here. But I believe I have given you an idea and strategies on how you can engage your kids through creative teachings.

Believe me if you adopt these steps for your kids and not allow them watch television all day but engage them wisely, they can stand tall anywhere they are. 

May God give us the Grace to pull through in Jesus Name, Amen.

Stay safe, Stay Blessed.

Much love,

~Sandra Ani

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