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Lock-down does not mean melt down

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

Finding lock-down hard with young children? Here are some simple ideas you might find useful.

First things first - children, by design, are meant to be out, doing energetic things, experimenting, exploring. Keeping them indoors goes against all of those things built into them by nature. So don't worry. It's not just you. We're all struggling.

The struggle is even more real, if your child has special needs. Children with autism or learning difficulties, or attention difficulties struggle many times more because of added behavioural complications.

So what can you do to help?

The first and the easiest thing to do is to bring structure into your child's life. While it seems easy to let your child wake up when they want to, watch TV for as long as they want to or eat whatever they want and whenever they want to, this DEFINITELY WILL NOT WORK for long.

In the absence of structure and a routine, children just get confused. And this confusion will show up as difficult behaviour. If your child has special needs, the difficult behaviour will be even more pronounced.

The easy way to bring in a routine, is to build it around your own. When do you wake up? Your child can be up shortly after that. Simple things that form part of the routine, like brushing teeth, having a shower need to be maintained consistently. While it is easy to let your child just laze about all day, don't fall into that temptation.

Meals are important time markers for a child. So try and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at consistent times through the day. It helps the child figure out how much time has passed in the day and how many more hours are yet to come. They cannot look at a clock and figure it out like we do.

All children can do simple chores. Let them do this consistently. Your two year old can put her own toys away. At the end of every playtime, and as you transition into a meal time, you can remind her with a 'Have you tidied your toys up?' She can put her own dirty clothes into the laundry basket. Your child can bring in the newspaper, water indoor plants, clear up after they finish eating and put clothes out to dry. You can decide what they will do depending on their age and ability. The important thing is not how much they do but how consistently they do it.

Decide in advance how much TV your child will be allowed to watch. TV time should not stretch on indefinitely. There are guidelines about how much TV is good for children.

Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep. Being sleep deprived is enough to cause the best of us to act in strange ways. Think about the effect it will have on a developing brain. There are guidelines here about how much sleep children need.

Once you set meal times, sleep times, TV time and chores time, you will find that you only need to find ways to fill the time in between these.

If your child has spent the last several weeks without much structure and routine, he might initially protest at the structure that is being imposed on him. Build it up slowly and gently. But don't give up - building a sound structure will serve you well for years to come.

And have you tried our Brainy English app (by Brainy Bug Resources)? With hundreds of words and sentences, our app is designed to make English easy for your child.

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