The gradual easing of the lockdown restrictions means there is a promise of all our lives returning to some sense of normal again. The past year has been tough for everyone, in particular for children who have missed out on some of the important development stages of being social in the classroom and elsewhere.
The effect of the lockdown on the mental health and social skills of our children is bound to be of concern to parents. With schools open again and other social development activities such as parent and toddler groups reopening, we have a look at how to help your children adjust from lockdown at home to normal school, playdate, and social activities.
Encourage them to interact with the environment
Much as our parents would have wanted to encourage us to play outside, it’s now our turn to do the same with our children. Playing outside is a sensory experience for children, and can give them an opportunity for socially distanced adventures with friends, such as playing games that test their physical limits.
Studies have shown that children who play outdoors and engage in physical activities tend to be livelier and more energetic, compared to children that practice more sedentary activities such as watching TV or excessive computer and games console use.
2. Let them lead in activities
Child-led learning might sound like confusing chaos to most parents, and it might feel that there will be very little actual learning going on. But by letting your child lead in activities will create an unpressurised environment that will allow your child to feel confident to express their ideas and to experiment.
Cook with them
Cooking together can help improve your child’s language, vocabulary, and communication skills. Whether it’s predicting what will happen next or allowing them to observe how the meal is coming together, there is an opportunity for advanced learning and communication just by cooking together.
4. Ask them how their day was
A great way to encourage conversation is to simply ask how their day has been. An open question such as that can help stimulate dialogue more than just asking ‘how are you?,’ and getting a one-word answer such as ‘fine’.
Really listen to what your child is saying and show an interest in their lives. These regular chats will help develop meaningful relationships in your child’s life and allow them to be more expressive.
Read with them
Reading with your child has been shown to help improve their academic abilities, but often the many other benefits can be overlooked.
Reading will equip your child with an extended vocabulary and language skills needed for coherent conversation. Encouraging them to take turns to read outlaid will also help boost their confidence to speak up and voice their ideas, opinions, and emotions.
As well as this, reading gives them a fictitious escape from reality. Giving them a safe space where they can explore their imagination helps your child recharge, so they are ready to learn and socialise again.
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