A Montessori practitioner shares three tips on how parents can adapt to the changes brought about by home isolation and being with their kids 24/7.
"Children are resilient. They are adaptable. Question is - how are parents adapting [in this pandemic]?"
Sydney-based educator and the owner of the child-parent education facility Little Hands at Work Anniebelle Vergel De Dios shares that while these difficult times may perplex children, they're highly stressful for adults.
"The pandemic is stressful for parents, especially those who lost their jobs. It's stressful for single parents who don't have support, especially if they're reliant on others to help look after their children. They ask themselves, 'How am I going to get through this?'"
"If you have a partner, check on each other. Have a discussion with your family. If your children are of age, explain to them what is happening."
And while what is happening is pushing families to change the way they live, work and study, here are some of Anniebelle's tips when it comes to making the most out of home isolation:
1. Don't hover over children while they do their school work"Children can stay home and do online learning. You didn't home school your kids in the past and you can't replicate or teach the way their teachers do. Don't hover."
Instead of hovering, Anniebelle believes in the importance of guidance and setting a routine.
"With my kids, online learning starts at 9am. Before that, they exercise and have breakfast. After their lessons, I ask them what they learned. I just let them know that if they need my help, it's there."
An offer of help instead of an insistence prevents conflict between parent and child.
"I tried to teach my kids one time and they just got frustrated with me," Anniebelle laughs, adding, "so don't nag. Just be there for them."
2. Engage children with household choresAnniebelle shares that while the world practices social distancing, the pandemic brings about an opportune time to strengthen familial bonds by engaging children with self-help skills.
'I'm big on chores. If you didn't delegate household chores before, now is a good time to start," she shares.
Children as young as 18 months can help set the table, sweep and place dirty clothes in the laundry. Older kids can help cook, bake, wash the car and hang clothes.
"Montessori is very big on practical life. Just look at the toys being sold in the mall - toy vacuums, pretend kitchens and other things found at home. Kids want to help. They want to mimic what they see adults do. This helps them learn responsibility and accountability."
"I see a lot of people baking now. You can bake something simple with them, like bread or scones. You can pre-measure the ingredients so that the recipe is no-fail."
3. Simplify and take it easy
A dilemma many parents face during home isolation is running out of ideas to entertain their children. Anniebelle shares that it's important not to be fazed by this.
"Take it easy. We're in a difficult situation now. Simplify everything and lower your expectations a bit," she shares, adding, "Just connect with your kids. Play. Talk with them."
"We need to show our kids that we're okay because how we feel and act affect them too."
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