By Sachin Jakhotia

Making the best of ISOLATION during CORONA outbreak!!!

  • Lately Corona (Covid-19) virus has wrecked havoc on entire world affecting more than 2 billion people. No wonder social distancing has become new NORM and like never before, ISOLATION is providing unique opportunity to interact closely within family to bring about different perspective towards life.

    As anyone dealing with stock markets could relate with the wide-spread retracement in stock prices and experts are suggesting reviewing and rebalancing investments. Along the same lines, perhaps this is the time to take stock of abilities and behavioral peculiarities of our kids on one hand and looking critically to our own temperaments and biases on the other. For that matter long-term investing could very well be a good analogy to raising kids so as to bet on tomorrow’s winners!!! 

    During a recent program at Phoenix school, Dr. Suneel Godbole had made interesting comment that children with sub-par mental abilities tend to do well with the activities requiring touch, smell and taste senses as compared to white-collar jobs which require extensive use of visual and auditory skills. We all know that our kids require multi-modal teaching/training techniques. For Shlok, we observed he likes to do hands-on activities such as helping in kitchen, home chores, serving at dinner table etc. So his dominant learning mode seems to be kinesthetic.

    In line with that we are encouraging him to play mechanic set wherein he can make various car models with nut-bolts, screw-driver and spanners. In general, I observed ebbing of interest after few weeks whether it is dance, music or even sports class. So far Shlok has always responded with enthusiasm for mechanics of the mechanical objects. So surely this would be one focus area to work with him in long term. Other aspect, we need to be conscious of is what is age-appropriate attention span. For Shlok, we observed he responds well when we do any specific activity for 10-15 minutes. We believe every 6-12 months we can slowly extend his attention span by few minutes…

    To be able to work independently in outside world one has to attune to social expectations at large. So behavioral peculiarities is another prominent area to pay attention. I am calling it peculiarities because often it seems to be attention-seeking misbehavior on Shlok’s part. Shlok exhibit multiple of such behaviors – Spitting when angry, mischief with friends/siblings/cousines or even sometimes sneaking away in crowded public places within a blink of eye.  Just yesterday he sneaked away in our neighborhood while we have been searching for him all over. After 8-10 minutes I got call from a gentleman couple of lanes down informing that Shlok is with him. We felt relieved. But the point is we need to be vigilant and prepared for such situations. To my surprise Shlok had informed his name and also shown him locket to the stranger. Knowing Shlok, we always keep one plastic key-chain as locket with him (my mobile number and Shlok’s UID/Aadhar number written in there). When-ever we go in crowded places or weddings etc, we make him wear a watch with SIM card so either he calls us or we could reach him.

    These kinds of instances are very difficult to keep calm. I was able to keep a neutral temperament and after couple of hours when everything was settled, I praised Shlok for his good behavior of showing phone number to the stranger. Later in the day when he was happy and more receptive, I told him a social story on why he should not go out without informing. We are also trying him to memorize critical information as phone number, address etc. Of course, there is no alternate to being more vigilant in first place but we still need to have strategies in place as fall back option.

    As per Indian culture a day is divided into eight praharas (of three hours each) or thirty muhurtas (of 48 minutes each). So while I am working from home, our focus is there should be at least 10-15 minutes of an activity every 3 hours so we remain in sync with the child. It is even better if we can use at least 2-3 instances every day to form a positive/healthy habit. With our kids forming any new habit is bit difficult. But if we persist long enough, we would be rewarded richly as the kids themselves remind us to do those activities. For example, I am teaching sun-salutations for last 10 days and I need to take extra efforts for him to follow. But for last couple of months, Shlok has been reciting Hanuman Chalisa in the evenings with his mother and chanting Om prior to going to bed. Now that he has gotten used to it, he only reminds us. Another fun activity Shlok likes to do on my laptop is drawing shapes and coloring in “paint”. He is now doing a lot of it independently.

    As I always feel, we as parents are custodians of our children’s future. We gotta do whatever it takes to move forward an inch at a time!!!





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