The phrase Social Distancing is a new word our lexicon.
Schools are closing.
To say the least, this is a very stressful time for just about everyone.
You may not be used to having your children home all day.
Here are some questions that you may be asking yourself during this challenging time:
How can I entertain my kids?
How can I educate my kids?
Are my kids going to watch TV or play video games all day?
How am I going to be able to work while they are home?
What are they going to learn?
As COVID-19 closes down classes, shuts down sports, and even locks down libraries, restaurants, and everything that is not medically necessary, you may be wondering how to keep all of the balls in the air...work, home responsibilities, kids education. Even the youngest children can feel the heightened anxiety levels from Coronavirus.
First of all, take a deep breath. Then think about your family's...
Our school-aged children are used to a predictable life. Get up, eat breakfast, go to school, come home, go to x activity. Get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, now what? Why not have the same rhythm at home? I know it sounds silly, but getting dressed will keep the kids grounded as there's lots of uncertainty around all of us, and having a predictable rhythm during the Covid-19 pandemic will help all of you feel better. The CDC is also giving great tips on how to navigate distance learning.
Start your day with household chores. Each child can have tasks to start the day, even down to the littlest child, or have the older children can help younger children with their chores. You might need to let up on your household standards and let the children work independently. Your children won't fold the laundry the way you do, and I know it is hard, but let the kids do it. Having the kids do chores will give them confidence and satisfaction in helping the family and learning how to take care of themselves.
After chores are complete, it's time for school. Schooling at home will not look like schooling in the classroom, but they will still learn as much if not more than what then can at school. Having regular activities that the kids can rely on will help all of you. Have the kids do mathematics, reading, and writing every day.
Here are some ideas:
Doing some mathematics every day will help the kids' minds stay fresh for when they do go back to school. For older kids, they may have mathematics instruction that's coming from their school. For younger kids, flashcards, mathematics games, or online math like Khan Academy or IXL Math are free or low cost. For younger children start with 20 minutes and for older kids or teens, an hour would be an excellent place to start. A family game time that involves math skills is also a fun way to spend time (Have you ever tried to count the money in Monopoly?)
During this time, practicing handwriting and journaling is a great way to practice your writing and a wonderful way for kids to process their feelings. For younger children that are preliterate having a journal with pictures is a great way to keep them feeling like one of the big kids.
Having a read-aloud time for the whole family either in the morning or in the evening after dinner. Here is a list of books that have been our family favorites and are engaging enough for teens and mild enough for younger children:
Have the kids read independently for an amount of time that is age-appropriate every day. For younger kids, 20 minutes might be the perfect amount of time. For older teens, an hour or an hour and a half would be appropriate.
Here is where you can have a lot of fun with your kids at home. Children actively engaged in exploring and building with open-ended toys like Brackitz are happy. This creative play helps them create solutions to problems both real and imagined. Unstructured educational play develops children's skills while they are having fun. When children lose their worries in the joy of creating and problem-solving, they can relax from the stress and fear around them. They may not realize it, but this imaginative play helps keep them growing and healthy in mind and body. We also have online video and PDF instructions or fully developed lessons that can be used at home or in the classroom.
While the kids are doing their work, show them what work looks like, by doing your work. Many of us can work from home while we are with our kids. Your office time will look very different than it usually does, and there may be times when you need to pick up some of your work after the kids go to bed or after dinner, but you will continue to be productive while being home with your kids during these difficult times.
Most of all, during the Pandemic of 2020, remember to relax, take it easy on yourself, reach out to others, and try and enjoy your time with your kids at home
This won't last forever.
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