These days, most families are nuclear and both parents are working professionals. However, more often than not this leads to their office hours being very long or not matching with their children’s school timings. In both these cases, children have to spend many hours alone or with their siblings. Siblings have the option to accompany each other whereas an only child is lonely and has to spend time his/her time all alone. In such cases, parents think of the ways to engage their child in some activities of fruitful nature.
Parents should keep in mind that they have to satisfy the inquisitive nature of 21st-century learners and should think of innovative ideas to engage them in their absence. We can not engage children in the same kind of activities over a longer period of time as they feel boredom and want some novelty. Parents have to keep in mind the interests and energy level of their child. To illustrate, a highly active child cannot be engaged in an activity that requires long sittings. Similarly, a brainy child can easily be engaged in a game like chess but would have less interest in sports or cars. Engaging your children in good activities will not only sharpens their mind but will also improve concentration and memory.
Here are some methods by which the children can be engaged:
Parents may inculcate a habit of reading in their children. If they are very young, parents should arrange some storybooks with moral values with colourful pictures. Children of older ages can be given some mythological or historical books. Parents can create a library or assign some small rack exclusively for books. Children should be made responsible for keeping and arranging their shelf neatly and beautifully. They can be given an option to exchange their books with some of their like-minded friends. Once they start enjoying reading, slowly and gradually they will be converted into avid readers.
Further, they can even start writing summaries of the books that they read which will help them in developing their writing skills. Activities like reading help to develop imagination and creativity. Along with this, these activities also help in developing brain function. If the child is willingly spending a lot of time with books, then he/she is considered to be in safe hands.
2) Colouring and Sketching
If your children have a creative mind, they can be provided with material to draw and colour. Children of younger age are fascinated with colours and are generally fond of colouring and sketching. They love to sketch and paint, which are one of the great mediums to express themselves and their thoughts. This has an important role to play in the development of their brain. They can spend a lot of time doing these activities. This is an excellent way to engage children indoors. A number of colouring, sketching and painting books are readily available in the market.
One great way to encourage young children is by maintaining and arranging all their nicely and helping them in making their own portfolio. Parents may give them an incentive to showcase their artwork by clicking pictures. Splashing of paint on paper is always an exciting task. All you need to do is buy some paint and canvas and you are good to go. You can provide a picture to copy from or let your child draw from his/her imagination.
3) Paper Craft
Like painting, papercraft activities also allow your child to express themselves and are useful in enhancing creativity. By using old newspapers and books, the children could be taught about reuse and recycling of material. Papercraft activities take a significant amount of time and require patience to complete the task. This is the perfect activity when you have to leave your children for a few hours with a babysitter or a family member.
4) Board Games
Board Games are a fun way to pass time. These games are especially fun when there are more than 2 people involved. Children can be indulged in board games like Ludo, Snake and Ladder, Monopoly, Business, Scrabble etc. Along with these games, Building Blocks is also an easy game which can help your child show his/her imagination. In fact, many household items like boxes, or even utensils could be used for the purpose. Even cards can be used as an alternative. The most special and important thing is that card towers/castles require a lot of concentration and a lot of patience and this enables your child to learn both. Along with this, it also helps pass some time in your absence. Board games help children in developing concentration, tactics, patience, and many other qualities.
5) Creating New Games
Children who have working parents spend a lot of time alone or with their babysitters and family relatives. However, they can use this spare time to create new games by using their critical mind and creative thinking. These days many kits are available in the market using which children can create their own games. This activity can help in the culmination of science, technology and creativity and can improve them in all these fields.
6) Tool Based Games
Tool based games are the new rage right now among children. Along with this, there are some other kinds of kits available like jewellery kit, quilling kit etc which help in creating some really amazing art and jewellery pieces. The kit has some pictures which have to be followed and recreated using the required tools. There are a variety of designs they can create. This not only involves them in a positive manner but also boosts their confidence and creativity level.
7) Household Tasks and Chores
Even if the parents are not available all the time, children need to learn the importance of the equal division of work and should help in household tasks and chores. They can be assigned some household task or chores and after completion of the task, appreciation can be given as an incentive.
For example, they can be given the task of folding the cleaned clothes and keep them at the assigned place. Involving the child with the daily chores will give them a feeling of ownership and belongingness as they are also a part of the family and will be doing something with responsibility. It will teach them responsibility and will help in passing time in the absence of the parents. Household chores help kids in learning cleanliness, discipline, time management, and most importantly how to look after themselves. Through this, the children can be engaged indoors and at the same time, they learn and get the job done.
8) Online Games
Although not the best way to engage a child during the absence of his/her parents, Online games can be a fun way to pass time and bond with the children. However, it is important to set the limit of daily computer usage so as to not harm their health. Along with this, they can be allowed to play some online game but with strict accessibility of the internet.
9) Play Act
Although this may not be the most conventional way to engage a child, it definitely is the most entertaining and engaging. Play-act is a great way for a child to live all his/her dreams. This is done by engaging children with meaningful activities such as playing chess. Play ACt games will help them in increasing their concentration level easily. Along with this, children love finding hidden things. The aim of the game is for the child to find the treasure. In order to do that, he/she has to first find and solve each clue. This will not only help in developing their brain but also in showing that they are smart and confident.
10) Physical Activity
Although this point has been mentioned in the last, it should be noted that Physical Health is at par with Mental Health. Therefore, children should have different physical activities and stimulating tasks every day. Involving them in physical activity is a very good option. However, in the absence of the parents, some other family member should accompany them for their safety.
Through this variety of methods, children can be easily kept engaged indoors and develop all the key skills in the absence of their parents.