Many parents are finding it difficult to keep kids busy and motivated during this quarantine as families begin to settle into the school at home lifestyle. Throughout this coronavirus global pandemic, the whole world has had to adjust to a way of life. In most cases, life has looked vastly different from anything most of us have ever experienced before.
Staying busy and motivated during quarantine can be challenging and ensuring the same for our children can be difficult. During a Tea Talk discussion with Monica J Sutton, Educator and Behavior Specialist, we discussed ways to keep kids motivated without going crazy.
Give Them Freedom to Discover New Interests
Whether your child's school has been providing online learning opportunities or you're tasked with finding things for them to do, it's important to remember that kids, by nature, are naturally curious about the world around them. Once your children have fulfilled schoolwork and other obligations, you can ensure they stay busy by allowing them additional screen time. While it's not the most popular option among many parents, social media does have its benefits. During quarantine is the perfect time to let your child explore those interests they may not have had the time for before. We're all overbooked and this time of closings and self-isolation has given families newfound freedom.
Let your child explore YouTube and discover new hobbies they may not have considered before. There are also kid-friendly Tik-Tok users who share their drawings, paint, songs, and dances with the world. Often your child won't have to look far to find something ‘new' to try. Their peers online are a fantastic resource so don't discount that screen time. Consider learning something new alongside your child for some quality one-on-one family time.
Keep Kids Busy By Serving Others
The past few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion for so many of us. It's easy to dwell on what we're missing. Simple pleasures like dinner out at a sit-down restaurant, a sporting event or shopping with friends seem as though they were part of a different life. Our children are no different; they're missing dance class, their friends and all of those everyday things we took for granted.
One way to keep kids busy during quarantine is to get them thinking about how they can help others who may be struggling during this time. That's not to say that what we're missing out is irrelevant, it is perfectly normal, healthy and expected to grieve what we've lost. What we don't want to do though, is let our children (or ourselves) dwell on those things. Work with your child and find opportunities where you can be of service to others. That may look like sewing masks or collecting items for a food pantry. It could even mean painting kindness rocks to leave around the neighborhood. The act of serving others is a great way to keep busy and is an important life lesson they'll take with them into adulthood.
How to Stay Motivated During Quarantine
Staying motivated during quarantine is challenging. With nowhere to go and few obligations outside of the home, it's easy to fall into a rut. Keeping or establishing a quarantine routine is one way to help keep your family motivated. Another effective way to stay motivated is to have your child work on their time management skills. In the late eighties, Francisco Cirillo developed what he called The Pomodoro Technique. This time management skill suggests breaking up a task into 25-minute increments.
If your child is having a difficult time writing an essay, for example, have them break up the assignment into chunks. Set a timer and have them spend 25-minutes working on the introduction. After the timer goes off, your child walks away from the assignment. They can then take a 5-minute snack break or a quick 5-minute jog around the house. Once the five minutes is up, they come back to the essay for another 25-minutes and repeat this series until the task is complete. The Pomodoro Technique has been used for decades in a variety of fields, organizations and businesses and can also be an effective tool for kids.
While we work through this new normal, it's important to remember that first and foremost, our mental health and the mental health of our children are paramount. Keeping kids busy and staying motivated during quarantine is important, but not at the expense of our health. The best thing we can do is take each day as it comes, make and hold space for one another and remember to breathe; we're going to get through this.