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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How to have a happy and healthy summer vacation with your kids amidst Corona-virus.

I wrote this article for Medium, you can find it here.

Summer vacation has arrived early this time around thanks to the unwanted visitor in the form of Corona virus.

The number of infected is rapidly increasing resulting in the force shut down of everything around, schools being one of the first.
With such extreme environment, threat of infection, precautions, amidst all the panic; the parents have another tough job on their hand i.e. to keep their child safe and happy.
It’s tough in any given normal vacation and here we have added Corona to the list.
So, for all the parents facing this big question of how to deal with keeping the child happy, healthy and entertained this summer vacation here are some pointers.

Precaution is better than cure having said that do not believe in any rumors or news without checking the source and authenticity of it. More than half the anxiety is created due to false information being circulated.
Informed child is a happy and responsible child. Impart education on Corona virus to your child (age appropriate) in a light but firm manner.
Always keep your child indoor if he/she is down with a bit of cold or fever like symptoms, so as to not pass on the germs to other kids.
Kids have this incredible energy which needs to be channelized in effective ways for their benefit as well as ours. Boredom is the core of destructive behaviour and tantrums. Having said that you don’t need to keep the child busy 24/7. They need to even understand boredom and find ways to entertain themselves and keep happy, this is really important for them in order to
learn to take their happiness in their hand and to think and process the down time or cool down time. Giving in to a lot of screen time is still a big no.
Carry out activities with them which are learning based, they already have their fair share of homework and assignments for the vacation. So do not burden them with further study material.
Fun — Learn and play activities can be found online, books, quizzes, general knowledge. Do science projects, most of the requirements are readily available in the kitchen.
Keep them busy for hours with Puzzles. Board games is another great option for a fun family time.
Keep loads of art and craft supplies stocked so that you can be creative with the children everyday.
Give them a hobby idea. Making garlands, colouring pasta, kneading dough and making figurines, making kaleidoscope. So many easy activities and ideas are available.
The elder kids are more responsible and mature but the pre primary and primary age group requires
more attention to deal with. Tweak the activities based on your kids age. The elder ones will require supervision where as the younger ones will need guidance, constant monitoring. You will need to keep the younger ones occupied more as they are more susceptible to falling ill and can’t stay
occupied/entertained by themselves nor can they make right choices for themselves compared to the older ones.
Books really are the best friends of any age group — Get a lot of books. Story telling with props and activities like making your own picture/word story book, puppets, show and tell, enactment, singing or reciting songs or poems related to it (according to the age).
Have cooking dates with them. Make their favorite pizza/burger/ice cream/ smoothie together. Let them help you in the kitchen. Teach them some fun cooking recipes.
Kids require sunlight/outdoors they need to play/exercise; they cannot be locked up in the house. Let them go out cycling, playing. Remember to keep it controlled as much as possible -more the crowd, the more chances of spreading infections. So, avoid crowded places as much as possible.
Let them play in big play grounds and open areas with not much crowd.
The emphasis on not touching any public surfaces and being vigilant when using public property, general items which come in contact by many so as to not spread the infection.
Similarly, kids need to be kept away from jungle gyms, play ground swings, monkey bars, slides and other play things which are in common use.
Try your best for them not to share their belongings or use common play things or play with others toys.
Playing with their individual toys like bikes, skates, ball when outside and not sharing it with other children for the time being is the need of the hour.
Games likes badminton, tennis etc where the distance is maintained sound good right now.
Hosting few of their friends at home is still letting them enjoy with a controlled environment and is much safer than summer camps/classes or letting them play collectively as a huge group in the park.
Make sure to keep the group as small as possible 1–2 and that too with those children and parents who you are close to and know well enough.
Always remember to inform and not include kids with slightest symptoms of cold or fever.
Host a movie and popcorn day with their friends at your house (small group 1–2).
Plan play dates with the other moms (Co- moms are each other’s Saviors, keep them close).
Once the kids leave don’t forget to disinfect the surfaces again.
Better than home have play dates outside like at the playground (not playing with the common jungle gym) playing soccer, cycling etc where the distance is maintained yet the kids get the exercise and required play time too. Don’t forget to sanitize enough after that immediately.
No hands touching the mouth/eyes/nose.

Visiting the swimming pool is riskier given the situation and sure shot way to spread infections. Having a pool party alone at home with the family is a better idea, get an inflated pool, let them have an afternoon of water play and snacks.

Virtual classes like music, art, dance etc. can also be looked at.
Virtually travel the world and museums. You can even dress accordingly and have activities with them based on that.
Video calling their friends will also help.

Take them for a drive and ice cream. Again, to places that are not supremely crowded.

Best summer vacations are at Grandparent’s house. Plan loads of visits/ stays. No body can take care of your children and pamper them silly after you like Grand parents can. Visit relatives, have small immediate family get together’ s. Let them bond and be merry with family and elderly. Keep it within immediate family.
Avoid immediate travel trips altogether but more than that stay informed. Do your research before taking children anywhere and make sound choices.
This summer, adult supervision has to be increased more than ever for the well being of the children.
Let’s not let that affect the fun Summer Vacation everyone deserves.
Wishing you a happy and healthy summer vacation.

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