The world is going through one of the greatest ‘crises’ ever! The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly spread over the world affecting most countries and has taken a toll of lives worldwide. This has led to lockdown of many countries, including India. This has brought people’s lives to a standstill, with all confined to their homes for a long time. The schools were in the first place to shut down much before the lockdown was imposed. The children are at home for quite some time now. With the spread of novel coronavirus, there is a lot of awareness about its prevention, spread and precautions to take, coupled with generation of a lot of misconceptions, fear and anxiety, especially among children. Every day, every hour, every minute of the day, we are keeping an update on its spread, but we also unknowingly bring many apprehensions, questions and doubts in the young minds. While we as grown-ups can handle some, if not all, our anxiety, our children are very small to handle this. To let not our stress pass to them we need to keep them busy in good activities. Engaging them in art is the best way out to reduce their anxiety and to relieve their stress. Children enjoy doing art the most right from a very young age. Art is an integral part of their learning and education. Asking them to do which is their favourite activity would be a bonus for them. It is one of the best ways out to keep them off-screens too, which is a real challenge these days.

Lower the ‘pressure’
Engage them in fun-filled and easy to do activities that they might be able to do on their own. This will serve dual purpose. It boosts their self-confidence, and strengthens their thinking and problem-solving skills. It will also help building self-reliance in them. All these are very necessary in the current situation as the kids might feel insecure, doubtful and unsure of themselves. A number of studies have also shown that the cognitive skills of children develop more in the absence of adult’s instructions. Children find joy and opportunity to self-explore when they express themselves in various forms of art.

Be supportive and encouraging
Support them in all their tasks, but do not contradict, guide them but do not give instructions, give suggestions but do not command and praise them but do not criticise. No matter however and whatever they make, it is very important to appreciate them for their efforts. Rather than focussing on their final creation, their endeavour should be given more significance. It would have a great impact on their emotional well-being which is very crucial during this time. Constantly working on a piece of art for long hours would teach the child to be hard-working, patient and optimistic.

Make it a ‘family activity’ / Develop ‘Family bonding’
With all the family members being together during this lockdown period, it has come as an added advantage. Parents and even grandparents can spend quality time and engage themselves with the kids. It can help develop family bonding and also teaching some moral values to the kids.

Create happy memories!
Like all times, this shall also pass! Keep a positive approach, and this will help inculcate hope and happiness in the kids too. Get involved with the kids doing the artwork, and have a good time together. Try to make long-lasting memories that can be cherished for lifetime!

Build an ‘Emotional’ factor
The children are going through a tough time not only physically, but also emotionally. On one hand, they are missing their school, teachers and friends, on the other hand, they are also asked to maintain social distance from their neighborhood friends. They are not meeting any cousins either. Drawing / painting / sketching related to their near and dear ones would help them feel that they are still connected, along with other modern technological means. They can also make say, a painting or a card, for them which can be gifted to them later and that can be kept as a treasure.

Enhancing learning skills
The children can best utilise this time to learn something new. The children can hone their hidden talent; improve their existing skills, as well as master new techniques. The creative and innovative instincts of the children get sparked up when they are given a suitable platform.
While they enjoy doing their art work, the parents can get joy by looking at them, getting involved with them and learning from them too! Wish us all a happy learning and a safe time ahead!

Shanay Mehta Shefali’s Art Classes, Mumbai
Vihaan Singhal Lotus Valley Int’l School, Gurugram
Meera Atolia, Kalakrit Art Studio, Gurugram
Pooja Gupta

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