A New Lunar Year, but it could be a lot happier…

Chinese New Year is normally a very festive and happy time when families get together and celebrate the coming of a new page, with all kinds of blessings. However, this year, this occasion was fraught with fear of the new coronavirus, which has caused people to suffer illnesses and death, as well as yet more businesses to suffer huge losses from forced closures, education to be halted and I can imagine, stress for some parents as they worry about their child’s health and at the same time, what to do with them for so many days when they don’t have school to keep them occupied.

But you know what, this is a time when you can experiment how young children can learn to deal with their own free time for hours on end, without your going crazy trying to plan everything to fill their time. Modern adults tend to worry about children getting bored, but it’s GOOD for them! Sure, include maybe 30-60 minutes of ‘work’ if you want to, just to keep them from forgetting everything by the time school resumes, but for the rest of the time, they can read books, play with their toys in new ways they had never done before (because they could never afford the time to be creative with their toys which they may have played many times, but always for a relatively short amount of time.) They can draw, colour, make crafts, do role-plays with their own toys, even have a bit of screen time (how about some English cartoons so they can absorb more of the language?), listen to songs/dance along. How about activity pads where there are puzzles, mazes, cut-outs, etc, to do? If you can/are willing to, get up a bit earlier to spend some extra quality time with them since they won’t have to rush out for school.

Back in the days when there were no electronics, and toys were a lot simpler, when kids didn’t have so many classes outside of school, how did they survive? How did YOU survive through hours of being alone? If you had siblings to play with what did you play? I had times when I was alone, and times when I had siblings to play with. I remember a lot of role-playing; family, at the doctor’s clinic, at school, at the office, etc.  We loved a cartoon themed after volleyball, so we made a huge wad of paper volleyball and ‘trained’ to spike the ball from the upper bunk of our bed to the floor, with the ‘coach’ tossing the ball up. I had stacks of construction paper, scissors and glue, and I made costumes out of them!

These all created great memories. In the modern day’s lifestyle’s pace of life, it seems that no one, not even young children, can afford to take their time with things; it’s always so rushed. Your children still have YEARS to experience ahead of them, let’s give them some REAL free time when they can still afford it. No, actually, we OWE it to them, because in rushing them through their day, we deprive them of opportunities to notice the little things around them, to develop their resourcefulness, their own self-help skills and problem-solving skills.

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