With no sign of schools reopening in the near future, parents and schools are starting to panic. The only way of facing this crisis is head-on. It may sound a bit radical and far-fetched, but this prolonged period of lockdown can also be seen as a blessing in disguise for the children. The parents and children need to relax and make the best of the present situation. In our world, whether it is flora or fauna when the chips are down, they adapt. Today, too, the answer to all the problems is adaptability.
Some schools today are going overboard with classes online. Four hours of online classes at a stretch, 5 to 6 times a week is causing more harm than good. Instead of being facilitators, the teachers are resorting to the old formula of spoon-feeding. The children in this situation should be guided and get used to research work. This is also a good time to catch up with reading and improving languages. Children must read one to two hours a day and spend 20 - 30 minutes a day reading aloud. This is also a good time to improve their vocabulary and general awareness. It’s not as bleak a picture as people and schools and parents are making it out to be.
New interest in music and art can be a stress remover. Regular writing on various interesting subjects is a good suggestion. 100 to 200 words of writing a day will help in improving expression, vocabulary and flow of thought. Writing is a very important exercise.
This period should be treated as a sabbatical and children must not be put under pressure by parents and teachers. This period could be treated as a year of home-schooling and quality time with family.
As for the 35% of students from remote areas who cannot access online classes; they survived earlier and will do so now. Their resilience is exemplary.
Another thing the children of all ages and adults need to do is keep fit. When space and outdoors are not available, the best bet and a friend is a skipping rope. Skipping three to five minutes, to begin with, with short breaks, is a great way of keeping fit. One can then gradually increase the time to ten minutes. Add to this 20 to 30 minutes of stretching exercises and you have a fitness programme. Yoga can definitely help.
What families need to do is that everyone finds one’s space and is the master of one’s own time. It’s important not to get on each other’s nerves. One needs to be busy and stay out of each other’s way. If one manages to mind ones’ own business, the atmosphere at home will be a happy one. There is no point fretting over the future of the children at this stage. This too will blow over. When the time comes to go back to a normal life, one must not be found wanting in mental wellness and physical fitness.
The coming world is going to be about relationships and adaptability. Those who can take care of this will eventually end up as happy, content and successful human beings.
Rajinder Pal Devgan firstname.lastname@example.org