As all parents should be aware by now, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the COVID-19 Flu a national disaster, and that translated into a number of restrictions that all people within the Republic and globally must abide in. A major restriction relates to children attending pre-primary, primary and high school, all schools are to be closed from the 18th of March till after the Easters 2020. This is following the increasing number of confirmed cases of people reported to be infected by the Corona virus.
As of Friday 20 March 2020, there are 202 confirmed cases in South Africa. This number includes a student from Wits and a 3-year-old from the Western Cape province. The safest precaution to take at his point is social distancing or isolation to avoid finding ourselves with a fast-increasing number of confirmed cases of those with COVID-19. In this case where we are dealing with a novel virus, prevention “is much better than the cure,” because there is no tested and approved treatment at this time. A novel virus is one that is new to infect humans, which means humans do not have immunity against it from having had exposure to it before. We have a level of immunity against the flu because our bodies have experienced the virus that causes influenza.
So now what to do if you find yourself stuck at home unable to go to school or you have kids yourself or you have siblings that are now home instead of school?
Here are some ideas on how to keep little ones occupied while at home. The purpose is to flood them with activities that will prove to be beneficial to their education and development, and not to keep them busy for the sake of it. It’s important to consider that this is still a teaching period, therefore, we need to contribute to this even though they are not currently at school.
- Extra School Work
This time is an opportunity for kids to catch up on work they have fallen behind on, to further understand a particular subject, or to move ahead of the curriculum. There are several mobile applications that could also enhance their skills and learning abilities. These apps often require connection to the Internet; however, they provide resources that could assist with accelerated learning. Such apps include Udemy, BrainPop, Beast Academy, iReady and Curiosity Stream, which is a TV channel available on channel 185. Vodacom is also providing learning resources that require the Internet but are not charging Vodacom subscribers for using the Internet.
- Informative Digital Consumption
As we are aware now, the kids in school now are a generation that is completely different from the 90s generation and the generations before. This generation is truly a digital generation, which spends more time indoors than outdoors. They are privileged to be exposed to all kinds of technology which allows them access to all kinds of media and information; the most popular being YouTube. During this break kids can enjoy limitless access to their favorite media whilst still learning. Some recommended YouTube channels for all age groups include Crash Course Kids, Free School, Kids Learning Tube, National Geographic Kids, SciShow Kids and The Brain Scoop.
- Focus on Existing Skills
Children begin to showcase different skills at different ages, but all kids are gifted. There is a limitation in learning institutions that are curriculum focused that tend to drift attention away from special skills. Some of the most successful CEOs and sports stars always reiterate how they started exercising and molding their craft from early ages of their childhood, so they’ve been repeating and working on particular skills for many years, hence they are so successful. This time off from school could mean more time spent on what children are naturally good at and us dedicating our time and support to help them enjoy and improve.
- Board Game/Library Books/Upcycling
Some of the fun and cheap ways of having fun whilst learning and improving skills kids can get into is playing board games. In as much as we are practicing social distancing, this can prove to be rather unexciting for a single-child household. Having a sibling or cousins or children as neighbours can be useful in this case for as long as precautionary measures are taken. This can improve a vast array of skills including social and mental capacity expansion. Visiting an actual library might not be advisable during this period but reading books is a necessity. Downloading Kindle would be useful and would allow children access to many books available. This is a great way to spend time indoors and to upskill on their reading abilities. A creative way to keep busy is by DIY upcycling using household junk. Here kids are prompted to think and to utilize their creative gears, shifting away from reason and logic which dominate our minds.
- Outdoor Activity
Lastly, this is also an opportunity to play outside, this is if they are in a secure space that would not allow them to interact with other individuals. So, this is suitable for those whose homes have their own private yard. Alternatively going on nature hikes or going to the park, riding bikes is a great idea. Fresh air and sun keep the virus away. Vitamin C during this period is essential. This mineral is pivotal in fighting the virus. Getting the kids outside could seriously help prevent the virus from taking hold. Ideas on different activities to be done outside could be found online. Preparing a daily schedule could help organize your child’s life during these holidays.
Stay safe, wash their hands often, bath pets frequently, avoid bringing people into your home and limit social contact.