When children are home and not in school, home life changes. There is some adjusting to be done and some small egos to cater for. Mind you, it is also an opportunity to build relationships and model behaviors.
If you are new at staying home with your children here is what you could do
Set the tone
As you are the parent you can set the tone and the atmosphere that will prevail when everyone is home and vying for your attention. And if there is more than one small person to cater to, it is imperative that little egos are not hurt and your nerves not frayed.
Setting a tone also means that as children are hypersensitive to a parent’s emotions it really is important to keep calm around your children. They may be small but they have big imaginations. And are very quick to absorb any emotions, be it fear, anger, irritation or joy.
Maintain a Routine
Hand in hand with tone is a routine. Children feel more settled with a schedule they can count on. Even if they may not be in school and are not expected to be ready at certain time. Do not fall into this trap.
It’s important to set daily activities they can count on. Regular wake-up and bedtimes, regular times for meals and a set daily time to do some fun things.
Talk to Them
They may not have an extensive vocabulary but, they do understand a lot that is said or not said in some cases. So do talk to them. Tell them why you are choosing one activity over another. Why you want them to do a certain thing in a certain order and why they must wait.
Do not ignore them and expect them to understand or read your mind. Update them regularly on what’s happening and keep them in the know. As much as you can.
Respect Their Individuality
They may look alike, or may have the same habits that an older child has, but they are different. Sometimes the similarities are just a show of admiration for the older child or they are unconsciously attention seeking. So, learn how to read your child.
When you can read your child you can easily pick up signs of illness, signs of sadness, signs of fear or stress. Know how to read the signs and pick up on a change in normal behavior. Some easy ones are throwing tantrums, being unusually quiet, not eating or bed wetting.
People manifest stress differently, so make sure to connect with each child individually to check in. And, do watch the quiet one. Often the quiet one is the one that is internalizing the stress most.
Together at home with your children is an opportunity to be creative and enjoy your time together. And it is an opportunity to find out how they are doing academically albeit in a playful manner.
Avoid staying indoors and this includes getting into the car and going to that mall. Go outside and stay outside; weather permitting. The TV and the electronic games can be turned to as a last desperate resort. Take them outside, to your garden, a family member or any outdoor safe place.
If you do end up at a public place, and have to pay some money to enter or maybe order drinks, that extra money you will pay for a coffee while they play in the outdoor play area, swim, or paint ball is worth your while.
If the weather is really bad; cook, bake, have a concert, piggy-back rides, hide and seek, colour and read stories. Make memories. They grow up real quick.