In uncertain times, it’s time to get back to basics. Time to build on what we know and have to help create stronger and better kids.
This is a hard call for parents who are dealing with their own fears and frustrations.
The fact is though, that what we do now – the routines we set in place – can have a lifelong effect.
Here’s how you can build better kids, even when the world has ground to a halt.
BUILD BETTER KIDS – HERE’S WHAT WE KNOW
This current crisis won’t last forever. Sure, there will be lasting effects – the grief if we lose a loved one to COVID 19. Financial hardship that could set us back years. However, the situation itself is temporary and we must act with the knowledge that what we do now will affect our lives, and those of our children, perhaps forever.
It can take between 21 and 66 days to form a habit. Our current lifestyle could last for three to six months, even longer, according to many. The routines we set up for ourselves and our kids will determine life after lockdown for many.
It’s all too easy to let things slide, give in to childish demands and give up on progress we may have been making in various aspects of life.
We Need to Move
Exercise is vital to build better and healthy kids – and adults. We can still go out for exercise if we follow the social distancing rules. We can still enjoy the beauty and peace nature gives freely – either from the space of our own yards or during a walk along the street.
Too much time in front of screens is dangerous to physical and mental health. Current national guidelines recommend that children under two years of age don’t have screen time other than video chats. For children aged two to five, the recommended screen time is less than an hour a day. From five to 17 years, the recommendation for screen time is less than two hours a day. Too much screen time can result in kids who are withdrawn, have headaches, eye strain, problems sleeping, are over-tired and act out with tantrums and meltdowns – especially when they are denied extra screen time.
Creative activities create smarter kids – Help Children Learn More through Creativity. And healthier and happier kids – Crafting a Happy Life – Why Kids Need (and Love) to Create. It’s true for adults too.
BUILD BETTER KIDS – HERE’S WHAT WE HAVE
If we have to stay at home, there has been no better time in history to do so and still stay connected. What we have is technology that allows us to video chat with loved ones, continue education without going to school and in many cases, be able to work from home. Notwithstanding the previous comments about screen time, these technological advances are priceless for keeping friends and family together when they are forced to be apart.
In Australia, at least, we have access to a wonderful health service that is being improved every day. We have access to decent food and necessities (except maybe toilet paper).
We have teachers dedicated to continuing teaching our children. Some are going to great lengths, such as making home visits. Teachers at my granddaughters’ school were each participant in a video full of loving and positive messages for the kids. It was sent out to all the students.
We have many things for which to be grateful. Things we can point out to our kids.
There are many people, such as myself, working hard to offer creative activities that do not require expensive supplies. Activities that will keep kids occupied without a screen and help promote stronger, happier, healthier, smarter and better kids.
BUILD BETTER KIDS – HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO
First of all, embrace the technology. Let it work for you to stay connected with loved ones, help educate your children and run your businesses. Just don’t become a slave to it. The necessity of screens for education means it is hard to stick to recommended times at the moment. However, you can limit the amount of time your children spend in front of a screen when not engaged in school work. Don’t let your children over-indulge so much that social distancing turns them into anti-social people.
Establish a new daily routine – one that includes household jobs for all the family, an exercise period for everyone, quiet time for reading and creativity and family time for fun. Perhaps you could write the routine on a whiteboard or create a special chart so that the children can tick off their achievements.
In his famous speech, US Navy Admiral William McRaven, advised graduates at the University of Texas; “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed”. This speech is full of wonderful advice that is so applicable to our current situation. You can hear the speech here.
Acknowledge the pause button we have been forced to push and use the time to enjoy special treats, like spotting nature’s hidden treasures.
Encourage your children to think about and be grateful for the good things – food, shelter, clean water – things many take for granted. Perhaps they could start their own grateful diary.
Have your kids think about what they can do to cheer up others – a beautiful card in the mail for a grandparent, a happy chalk picture on the driveway for passers-by to see or a teddy bear in the window for young children to spot. It’s a scientific fact that reaching out to others has the added bonus of making us happier.
Remind your children of their superpowers.
Relieve their boredom by getting your kids involved in creative projects. This is where I can help. You can find many free projects on this site and some fun-filled creativity packs at my shop. I also have a very special creativity and imagination offer for Australian residents.
The Busy Build Bundle
My art and crafts school, Wacky Workshops, has teamed up with another local Blue Mountains business, Gingerbread Folk, to create The Busy Build Bundle. This amazing offer focuses on the theme of building.
We chose this theme because of all its positive connotations – much needed during these challenging times.
We can build a bridge (and get over it), build a better life, build a better future, and build on our success. However we use the word, it speaks of growth and moving forward. Something we are all anxious to do.
This pack is designed to take your child on a building adventure which is sure to promote imagination. We may not be able to leave our homes, but, as Albert Einstein said, imagination can take you everywhere.
The adventure starts with a story. It’s the story of two children, lost in a forest when they come across a beautiful gingerbread house. Sounds a lot like Hansel and Gretel, right? Our story is a little different. It guides children through a fun series of projects that begins with building their own gingerbread house using the easy to make kit supplied by Gingerbread Folk.
Forget about having your cake and eating it too. With this pack, eating the delicious gingerbread house, after making it, is just the start of the fun. Projects include building a forest and animals, building a puppet theatre and sculpture set. It comes with a set of markers to decorate the creations. All parents need supply are scissors and glue and perhaps some decorations, such as lollies, for the house, though the included icing is delicious in itself.
You can order your Busy Build Bundle and take advantage of free nation-wide shipping, from the Gingerbread Folk online store.
Happy crafting and have a gleeful week, Tamuria