The COVID-19 outbreak has left parents in a precarious position, handling home-schooling, work, and their usual daily tasks too.
None of us, including children, signed up for any of what these past few months brought about. With the move to online interactions, including online classes as well as endless Zoom meetings for adults, our attention span and ability to focus have been affected.
Children often struggle to stay focused, and it is helpful to address the core of this problem. A lack of focus is due to restlessness and anxiety. And the antidote to this is to create a secure environment filled with love, togetherness, and freedom in the family.
It creates a strong foundation for them to become more receptive and appreciative of life. These moments of joy and anticipation become the food for their heart and nourishes their soul, thereby increasing their happiness.
They would always look forward to coming back to the safety of their own home and parents can do the following:
1. Invest time with your children every day
A few minutes every day can go a long way. It can be spread across breakfast, dinner, and bedtime. As you know your child the best, selecting activities which they enjoy and doing them together will create more joy in them. Whether that’s cooking, painting, reading them a book, or letting them narrate stories to you.
Be creative with this! This is a unique opportunity for you to reconnect with your little ones and engage them in activities. Some further examples could include:
- Playing the ‘Secrets’ game.
It can be a few times a week or even daily. Essentially, in this game, the purpose is to build trust and bond with your child. You both share one secret with each other simultaneously.
For instance, the parent initiates the game randomly and shares a secret or mistake they made recently. The child in turn can choose to share a secret too. It can be something they did at school, e.g., left a zoom class earlier than usual.
The key, however, is to be completely non-judgemental and simply listen to the child’s secret, without lecturing them about any of it.
This mutual sharing creates a deep bond between parent and child. It almost replaces the bond they may be missing by being away from their friends and builds lifelong trust.
- Give them food for the heart
These moments which you spend with your children while having fun, joy, and laughter, become food for their hearts.
Although it may not seem tangible, this is what will make children look forward to spending time with you later in life and look up to you. This food for the soul is essential in creating an anchor for children.
Instead of constant lecturing or telling them to do what’s right, building a bond on fun and care will cause them to open up naturally and create inner contentment in your children. And anyone who is happier is able to focus more, due to the feeling of fulfillment.
2. Promise them some fun activities
Children love a sense of euphoria. Starting their day, with the knowledge that a fun activity is scheduled for later, will increase their focus and joy. They will enjoy their day at school with a sense of positivity.
You could try new games and new dishes with them as novelty is the key to excitement. Also, when parents keep their word, it builds trust in the family.
You can also make ‘deals’ with them that encourage them to complete their work so they can do fun activities after. It could be baking cookies with you or building a treehouse with their father. Do what you can to keep them motivated and excited for the next day.
3. Be flexible
During the pandemic, asking children to improve their grades can cause undue stress on them. Instead, understanding and advising them to do the best they can boost their confidence. Children are quick learners, in the right environment, and they will pick up their skills again gradually over time.
It’s not productive to expect perfection from them in a time of confusion and uncertainty. Work closely with them so that they can understand the importance of putting in their best effort – without added pressure.
It will take time for you to strike that delicate balance, but it is crucial to your child’s academic development. Be their close friend, mentor, cheerleader coach, and well-wisher. They need it now more than ever.
It may not be easy initially, but as children start to open up and enjoy several moments throughout their day, you’ll also learn to champion this new life. It’s worth a try.
Children will adapt and things will be better in the future, but for now, online school is what we’ve got. Overall, children should know that home is their happy, secure place filled with bonding, joy, and trust.
If this is missing, a child will neither enjoy studying nor being at home. Food for the soul is the essential ingredient to increasing focus.
As parents, we can help them in this time of uncertainty and our patience can help them flourish in all aspects of life.
The fact that you’re reading this article only shows your willingness to go the extra mile in increasing the well-being of your children. If you want to learn more about ways to improve your parenting, you can gain more insights here.
About The Author:
Komal R is a University Lecturer, Optometrist, and Ph.D. researcher since 2015. She is a regular contributor to the Os.me Online Community and she finds great joy in imparting knowledge, the wisdom of any kind, and making others laugh. 🙂