It has been more than 60 days we are in the COVID-19 lockdown situation; and we have survived both, the pandemic and the new normal routine with managing work, home and kids, so far. On one hand, this lockdown is a good opportunity to spend time with family, to sit back & introspect and adjust to the new routing, whereas on the other side, sometimes things around you are absolutely chaotic and the home becomes a war-zone, especially when the kids add more misery to an already piling list of household chores.
Kids, right from a very young age of a toddler, learn things by observation. They observe their surroundings, their parents, other kids, people, and lot more. Their observations have a very deep impact in their behavior, their upbringing and development from an early age. That is why it becomes even more important for parents to keep a tab on how they themselves behave in front of their kids. We may not realize it immediately but when kids start behaving the same way as us like they get angry, shout, scream etc. – then we realize and feel guilty.
The lockdown has definitely affected our daily routine, we are confined to the four walls of our homes, without any domestic help – be it a cook, a maid or a caretaker. This adds to our already busy & hectic work-life balance, we tend to get frustrated, annoyed and show our not so good side of emotions in front of our kids. Remember, the kids observe everything, and they do not have the capacity to differentiate between a good behavior and a bad one. All you need to do is, take a deep breath, relax and try to involve your kids in household work.
Why not grab an opportunity and ask your kids to help with household chores – be it folding clothes, washing dishes or with cooking – depending on their age. This will help the kids to develop a sense of responsibility and understand that no work is small or big. This is a good way to improve their hand-eye coordination, their fine motor and gross motor skills, to make them independent to handle their tasks on their own.
In general, kids associate people with the work they do on daily bases. For example, they think that cooking is only cook or mom’s responsibility, or dusting, sweeping & mopping is only maid’s job, and so on. When we ask them to help with such household work, they realize and learn it’s not just a single individual’s responsibility and learn to respect the people doing it. Plus, this is a great way to keep your kids busy other than their screen time or toys.
Our daughter, Vritima, had somehow automatically developed this helping trait from an early age. Now we realize that she picked it up with her own observations. When she turned 2 years old, she started with small tasks like folding clothes, fetching a glass of water, and even rolling chapati/roti with the rolling pin which was a sight to behold. Slowly we started encouraging and appreciating whenever she helps with something; this way we tried to teach her the importance of gratitude.
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Now, at 3.5 years of age, she is always ready to extend a helping hand – be it keeping her toys, books and things at their places, drying and folding clothes, cutting vegetables or fruits (of course we are extra careful and supervise her when she does that), watering the plants, and so on. She makes decent round chapatis at this age, she even knows the start to finish process of making tea and lemonade and her own special cheese burger, among other things. She takes keen interest whenever we are cooking something; she will drag her small chair to the kitchen platform and watch us do the cooking, bombarding with her own unique instructions and advises.
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We have never restricted her from doing something, of course we tell her how to do it, supervise her and even teach her what is dangerous (for example handling her small knife or standing around gas stove or not touching the switchboards etc.). This has definitely had a positive impact in her behavior, upbringing and development; and we couldn’t be more happier.
A lot of parents these days complain about excessive screen time for kids and find it difficult to divert their attention from TV, Mobile or Tablets. This situation is becoming very common with both parents being working professionals and nuclear families where we find only way to keep our kids busy is to let them be submerged in TV or mobiles. We have seen lot of kids becoming reserved or introvert and keep themselves glued to phones/tablets from very young age, they don’t know how to socialize and be interactive with others. So it is important to involve them with different ideas, activities and involving them in household work is an excellent way to keep the kids busy other than screen time or toys; and at the same time it is a good way to teach them to become helpful, grateful, and responsible.
So use this lockdown period to your advantage and get your kids to help with household chores. And as our beloved Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi said in his speech on lockdown 4.0 – help your kids become ‘ATMANIRBHAR – Self Dependent’.
Very nicely written Abhijeet. Every parent should read this and understand how such small children can new engaged by parents in so many activities at home. And lovely photos of Vritima’s. Absolutely enjoyed seeing these and knowing that she does so many things at home!! It was definitely a sight to behold!!