Psychologists recommend these children’s leisure activities to do at home during quarantine

Psychologists recommend these children’s leisure activities to do at home during quarantine

COVID-19 quarantine regime became a real challenge for the parents, who now spend time with their precious ones around the clock. Kindergartens, schools and child development centers are temporarily closed during the state of emergency, so now parents have to figure out how to keep kids entertained during coronavirus quarantine. Parents would like their children not only have fun during quarantine, but also to spend this time productively. We asked the experienced psychologists in Kazakhstan for some recommendations for parents on how to best spend leisure time with children during quarantine.

Since the government imposed the self-isolation measures due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, many people got stuck in one closed space, in one house, with other family members for many weeks, which causes a shortage of a personal space, said psychologist Natalya Oberderfer. She recommends each member of the family to have their own specific place in the house where they can go about their own business. Oberderfer also says that it would be good if parents make a daily schedule for their children. They should discuss each moment together, because, most importantly, children should do what they like – they can even become vloggers, why not?

Quarantine is an opportunity to start doing something new. For example, a child can start his own Youtube channel. The channel doesn’t have to be public from the beginning. First, he can make trial videos and prepare notes for what he is going to say during filming. Then parents can join their child to discuss the finished video and even compliment him, as well as make some suggestions to the video,” Oberderfer said.

However, many parents have this fear that their children will get addicted to gadgets. Psychologists advise them not to worry much and just try to control which content their children are consuming, because nowadays there are a lot of educational content on the Internet as well.

There are many broadcasts where children make crafts together or sing songs. Parents can include them in the daily schedule. There are also programs where hosts read fairy tales for children in a live broadcast. This is a good opportunity for parents to have some ‘me time’, while their children are listening to the online fairy tale. Then, they can discuss this fairy tale altogether over dinner,” Oberderfer recommends.

A counseling psychologist Assel Bimagambetova believes that quarantine is a perfect time to teach a child some self-sufficiency. She recommends parents to give their child various tasks and then encourage and praise him or her for the work he or she did, even if the task was very easy.

 “Be sure to come up with joint leisure activities. For example, you can cook or make something together with your child or watch a family film in the evening after all work is done. In addition, you can find some educational programs online and watch them with your child as well. The main thing is that you do these activities together,” Bimagambetova said.

A child psychologist Valentina Mukhanova-Biryukova recommends parents to play with their children more as this is the process that shapes social skills. The games develop and strengthen all of brain structures by improving the cognitive development of higher mental functions, including attention, memory and speech. Therefore, it is important to include educational games in your leisure. Fine motor skills are responsible for the speech and language development. Children that trained small movements with the hand tend to learn and socialize easier.

People came up with the game forms in order to involve children in doing the fine motor skills exercises. These games stimulate a child to do interesting and easy exercises using his palm and fingers. For example, it can be the games where a child plays musical instruments or engages with plasticine, finger paints, groats, sand, drawings and many more. Large motor skills are also directly related to the brain functions. The active movements of the body, arms and legs develop inter-hemispheric connections, as well as improve dynamic and kinesthetic praxis and gnosis. For example, running, cycling, dancing and doing chores indeed bear wonderful results,” Mukhanova-Biryukova recommends.

Experts say that active games are very important for both physical and mental development of a child. The famous blogger Roza Yessenkulova says that while children are in quarantine, why not play games at home. Yessenkulova has a daughter Liana, who has enough toys to play together with her mom.

We often turn on the music on the smartphone and just dance at home. We also learn short poems or the lyrics to the songs. Recently, she played songs on dombyra about coronavirus and stay-at-home regime that went viral on social media in Kazakhstan. I uploaded those videos on my blog. In addition, we watch the cartoons on TV. We also like to play hide and seek, despite our apartment being pretty small. She finds a lot of fun in our leisure activities,” Yessenkulova shares.

Overall, spending time on recreational activities with their children is beneficial for parents too. In anticipation of the quarantine to end, doing such leisure activities makes them move, relax, have some fun and feel like a child again, carefree and happy.