Children are now spending more time indoors due to school closures, prompting parents to look for ways to keep their little ones entertained during the outbreak, according to family experts at Baylor University, a Christian university in Texas.
Statistics On Bonding With the Family
Think tank Pew Research Center found that 5% of US parents spent too much time with their kids, while 36% said too little and 59% said they spent about the right amount of time. Mothers (66%) were more likely than fathers (50%) to report that they spent the right amount of time with their kids. 48% of fathers said they spent too little with their children compared with 25% of mothers.
39% of full-time working moms said they spent too little time with their kids, unlike 14% of moms who work part-time or don’t work outside the home at all. Among parents of children whose child is younger than six, 11% said they spent too much time with their kids, while only 4% of those whose oldest child is six years and above said the same.
In a survey commissioned by Red Robin and conducted by OnePoll, 73% of American kids would like more opportunities to bond with their loved ones, reported Good News Network, an American online newspaper. According to the survey involving 2,000 school-aged children (6-17 years), 70% of parents would also like more chances to spend family time together. Over the dinner table, children said that they would have more fun with their family if they were permitted to decide the order of the meal: dessert first (59%), could order for the entire family (52%), or if they were the only ones allowed to ask questions at the table (32%).
90% of children considered their family to be close, with 56% reporting a “very close bond.” However, their bond with their families did not affect the strength of familial ties even though 34% of them did not think that their parents understand what it is like to be a child today.
Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), whose objective is to keep Canadian families tightly knit, released its second Family Togetherness survey, finding that 91% of 2,013 parents of children aged 0-18 across Canada were happy with their family life, cited Biospace, a biotech, pharmaceutical, and clinical research job portal. 62% chose to spend time with their family while 72% believed that close-knit relationships with their children helped in their overall satisfaction at home.
47% of Canadians felt that having more disposable income could improve their family life. 34% of Canadian families played games and 76% watched TV or movies. 39% said they spent quality time in the car on the way to school or activities.
Creating A Schedule
Karen K. Melton, Ph.D., assistant professor of child and family studies in Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, stated, “A sense of routine can help us stay calm and keep moving forward,” quoted Baylor University. Hence, it is important for parents to create a schedule for their children, which can take time and effort. But once a schedule has been established, it can help reduce stress.
Melton added, “You can create a full-day schedule or just a morning/afternoon schedule when you need to get other work done.” According to her, schedules will help minimize boredom and anxiety, thereby increasing one’s sense of belonging and competency.
There are some families who permit their children to watch TV in the morning and work their way through their schedule. If they managed to complete all their activities, they can have additional screen time in the afternoon. Schedules may include art or music, outdoor play, free play, chores, board games, screen time, reading, learning activities/educational worksheets, and more.
When it comes to screen time, parents should note that all screen time is not created equal. This is because we interact with our devices differently, as well as with how we use such devices to entertain or educate ourselves. You can divide screen time into categories such as constructive social media versus destructive social media use and playing educational games versus playing entertainment games.
Children will likely have more screen time than usual, Melton noted. She suggested, “For older children, limit screen time so that it does not replace physical activity, sleep or other healthy behaviors.”
Activities Parents and Kids Can Try to Foster Social Connectedness
This is the best time to unleash your child’s creativity! Kate Whiting of the World Economic Forum, an independent international organization, stated that art can be powerful as it allows you to escape from the real world for a short time. Art can also put you in that mindfulness zone, which makes the time fly by quickly. It is recommend to take some time out of your busy lives by doing anything art-related such as cooking, crocheting, and coloring.
It is also essential for you to teach your kids some life skills. Letting your child engage in educational activities does not mean it has to be related to school. Whiting recommended teaching your kids how to fold their clothes, mop or vacuum the floor, cook food, and more. Dedicate an hour or two and demonstrate how you want your child to do that.
Who says your child can’t communicate with their friends? You can help your little one by setting up Zoom talks with their friends. You don’t have to do this daily. The objective here is to let your child connect with someone else that’s not related to you or another adult.
Most importantly, try not to lose your cool when diverse scenarios occur at home. Parents and children alike are slowly transitioning to the new norm. On the bright side, quality time helps you get to know your child more. Melton stated, “Life will be a little crazier than usual over the next few weeks. Remember, we are all in this together. We will all need to sacrifice and be more flexible.”
Every family is different but the common denominator is that each person is trying to adjust to the new status quo. Parents can use this time to bond with their kids, teach life skills, and more to entertain them.