As the country turns the spotlight on children for National Children’s Day on Friday (May 15), parents are being encouraged to break from their daily activities or routine and to immerse themselves in engaging in fun and bond-creating activities with their children.

Chief Executive Officer of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), Kaysia Kerr, said that the focus must be on children for the day.

“I am saying to parents for Children’s Day, they are to ensure that they are being present, meaning, whatever activities they decide to do with the children, they must make sure that they have stopped everything and just focus on the child or children,” she told JIS News.

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has limited some of the activities that parents would have likely done with the children or places that they would have taken them, Ms. Kerr said it is important for parents to engage the children in fun activities inside the home.

These include board games, which help to develop children’s mathematical and critical thinking skills, as well as storytelling, where parents can use the opportunity to share experiences with their children.

“Go back to sharing stories about your own life, because there are so many children who don’t know anything about how their parents were brought up, so it would be a good bonding time to share experiences of when you were a child,” Ms. Kerr noted.

“There is good information in history and past experiences… so even in horrible circumstances some beautiful things can come of it and you could share with your children how you might have overcome a difficult situation. That, in itself, will teach them that they too can be resilient people that they too can get through whatever circumstance presents [itself],” she added.

Ms. Kerr also suggested going outside for a walk and “spark conversations on what you’re seeing in the environment, so it becomes light and rewarding”.

She noted that a walk is not only beneficial for mental and physical health, but is a good time for paremts to speak to children about their concerns or interests.

Whatever activity is undertaken, Ms. Kerr said that the important thing is for parents to ensure that the time spent with their children counts.

“The point is, whatever activities you are going to do it must be child-focused. It is not about the parent for the day but totally about the child, so if for that day you can put away the work, the deliverables of your job or whatever is distracting in your life; if you could set aside some hours out of the day to concentrate on the child and what is important to the child, that would be awesome,” she told JIS News.

The National Child Month Committee is observing Child Month in May under the theme ‘Unplug Negativity, Connect Positivity… Think!’.

Parents and guardians are being encouraged to use this period to increase engagement with their children and to be more of a positive influence in their lives.

For National Children’s Day, persons are being reminded to wear something in sunshine yellow, whether they are staying at home or going out as an essential service worker.