“Discipline is about choosing what you want now and what you want most” ~Abraham Lincoln
It took all of us a lot of self restraint to stay at home for 6 weeks with minimal social interaction. Forced quarantine by the Government has become the key to our well being as we struggle to cope with the uncertainties of the ‘new normal’ thrust upon us. With the relaxation of the lockdown and reopening of the economy eminent in stages, the challenges will mount and every citizen will have to behave in a responsible and disciplined manner. Educating children to be disciplined is going to be a major task for both parents at home and for the schools.
Simple acts like washing our hands regularly, wearing a mask when stepping out, participating in household chores or self regulation of screen time are signs of self discipline. Today we see children following these simple steps not because of parental or peer pressure but because they understand that this is important for their health and well being. It is important to constantly remind our children and ensure that these habits remain an integral part of their routine.
Our physical and emotional well being is closely tied to our ability to be disciplined and invest in social relationships. The lockdown has been a period when families are getting to spend a lot of time together. Parents are role models who play a very important role in inculcating self discipline in children. As we do not know at this point when schools would reopen, a daily routine should be established so that it becomes second nature.
Sharing of household chores, exercises and aerobic sessions are simple activities to keep the body fit at a time when physical activity is severely curtailed but there are many other activities that can be done at home.
Similarly, this has been a period of learning and discovery for many families. Parents and children get together to participate in quizzes, take up online music or drawing classes, or even cooking meals together- all these being activities that keep their minds active and also bond well.
Socializing can also be achieved through online means where students can be part of Life skills activities involved in groups. Though these are not the same as physical socializing, it will still achieve close to the desired results. Infact, with everyone at home, it has been possible for people to reach out to their extended families and even renew old friendships.
Establishing a routine that includes all these aspects requires self discipline. It can also help regularise sleeping patterns and meal times. Parents can motivate their children to follow such a routine. Once the child understands the benefits of this routine and starts to enjoy it, he/she will follow it even when the parent is unable to participate in the activity.
A child with self discipline is likely to grow in a responsible, mature and independent person. With better control over emotions these children will be equipped to make intelligent choices after weighing the pros and cons of every decision. This will also ensure that they are more accountable with the ability to take both success and failure in their stride.
There is a lot to learn in time of COVID. Self discipline is just one such aspect.
A child’s daily routine should include at the minimum:
- 1-2 hours of physical activity/exercise
- Waking up and going to bed around the same time each day
- Divide the hours into small chunks for various activities including reading, writing, researching, playing games, free time, etc
- TV, Internet and social media can be used as tools for learning as well as entertainment. It is essential to strike a balance between the two. Attend online classes as required.
- Helping in the household – cleaning, running errands, and so on
What can happen when children learn self-discipline:
- Avoids acting on impulse.
- Be active including free play, rather than just idling and wasting time.
- Follows a healthy routine.
- Overcomes the habit of watching too much TV or constantly being on the internet/social media.
- Learns new skills, hobbies and gets exposed to different ideas
- Sets realistic targets and works towards achieving them.
- Washes hands and feet after returning from being outside
- Dresses himself/herself right after breakfast without needing a reminder.
- Using water judiciously, not wasting food and eating a balanced diet
It is said that children imitate parents or elders. A self-disciplined adult can set a good example and be a role model by:
- Wearing a mask when going out – to protect yourself & others
- Staying at least the safe distance at all times irrespective of how others are
- Obeying the rules and guidelines imposed by the Government.
- Not congregating with other friends/colleagues unnecessarily without protection