Parents urged to keep children active during summer

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SUMMER this year is not the same for many children as the novel coronavirus has caused the cancellation of family trips, camps, vocational Bible schools and a number of activities in which they would normally participate during the holiday break. Overseas travel, which many families would look forward to during the summer months, has also been put on hold.

Although the Government has relaxed some COVID-9 restrictions and is allowing the opening of summer camps, some parents have chosen to have their children forego these group activities out of a heightened sense of precaution, but chief executive officer of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), Kaysia Kerr, says there are many fun and creative ways to keep children engaged and entertained while social distancing, and urged parents to keep them active.

She said people with big backyards can use the space to play sports with their children and get them involved in backyard gardening.

“I think the more you do things that are outdoors the better it is for your children, as opposed to having them cooped up inside with the tablets and other electronic devices,” she said.

“So the idea is to create fun activities with the family on the outside of the home,” Kerr said.

She further recommends playing board games such as monopoly, and also for them to do some reading.

“Reading can be a fun activity. There are many adventures that you can go on through reading, so it would be a good time to introduce your children to books and stories that have adventures,” she told JIS News.

Kerr said that parents could also plan family movie time at home.

“Create that experience at home so they won’t miss the movie theatre. You’re creating that experience where you’re watching a really good family movie that’s fun and exciting and takes your children on a good adventure. Everybody can watch and perhaps even talk about the lessons in the movie to see what could be applicable,” she stated.

Kerr said beach trips are also a good idea, as long as the safety protocols are being observed.

The NPSC head says that in planning activities parents and guardians should focus on fostering their children’s creativity instead of buying things for them.

“Just by design, children are so imaginative and creative, and once you put them in an environment where they can be creative it’s amazing what they will come up with. A feature, especially of the smaller children, is to make up their own stories and imaginary friends,” she said.

“What we need to do is to foster that, so where you see children making up stories and making up games, you can have them record these stories, whether by writing or using a recording device, or get involved in the creative process and add to the story.

“So whether the creativity comes from their drawings, making up their own songs, making up poems, that should be facilitated as opposed to putting pressure on yourself as parents to go [and buy] things that other people created,” she added.

In addition, Kerr said as parents and guardians find ways to keep their children occupied and creatively engaged this summer, it is important to continue to have discussions with them about the pandemic and ensure that they observe the proper safety protocols.

“It is a different time and so there are boundaries and limitations. Those talks need to be had because children must understand that it can’t be business as usual.

“And we have to give them a little more credit too; they will understand that we are going through a pandemic and we have to do it differently,” she said.


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