One of the most common concerns I'm hearing from parents these days is how to deal with their children suddenly being home and how to manage their school tasks. In a very short time, millions of parents have been given the responsibility to basically home school their kids.
Parents express feeling overwhelmed by all the emails they have received from teachers regarding their children’s school work. Many kids have multiple teachers and many families have more than one child. If each teacher for each child is sending out information, you can imagine how confusing and crazy-making this would be!
At the same time parents are trying to figure out how to provide care and supervision for their children, get a sense of what a new work schedule looks like, find a quiet place in their house from which to work at home,and determine how the whole family is going to “shelter in place” together without driving each other bonkers!
When it comes to your child’s education during this health emergency, here are a few tips. There are a lot of ideas online, so don’t just stop here. Investigate to find the ideas that resonate with you.
Families are not all the same. A schedule that works for one family may cause disaster for another. Finding a schedule that fits your family will be important as you face the coming weeks. Here are just some ideas to consider.
Arianna Prothero, with Education Week, recommends making a schedule that’s works with your child’s routine and that works best for you. For example:
Here’s a schedule proposal from www.mommyhood101.com. You can mix and match the hours depending on what works for your family:
Finally,get your family’s input. Having your partner and children be a part of the process when creating a routine will increase the likelihood that they will adhere to it. Have regular (i.e., weekly) family meetings to discuss whether the routine is working or needs some adjustments.
Teach your children about the coronavirus, in an age-appropriate way - and help them learn ways they can keep themselves germ-free. In addition, get them involved in chores around the house and yard. Giving them doable tasks will keep them busy and make them feel like they are a part of something important. Create a visual chore chart so your whole family knows what’s going on.
NPR guest, Kristine Mraz, recommends encouraging your children to think of a 10-day project they’d like to focus on while they have so much time on their hands. She says to let them be creative with this. The project may revolve around a video game, or may be about the coronavirus itself, or maybe your child is interested in creating a website about a particular topic (there’s lot of free website builders and templates out there). If kids pick something they are interested in, they are more likely to spend a good amount of time focused on the project and not getting antsy because they don’t have enough to do.
Schedule time every day, as weather permits, to get outside with your kids. Avoid busy play grounds and crowds, but let your kids walk, run and play outside - maybe even get dirty! Teach children about hiking and learn some things about nature together (i.e., names of flowers that will begin blooming in the coming days and weeks). If you can’t go outside, find fun exercises and physical activities to do at home. There are many online videos that teach children about physical health in a fun way.
Take time to spend by yourself, doing something you enjoy. Teach your children (and even your spouse or partner) that this is sacred time and you are not to be interrupted. Even if this is brief (30 minutes), having alone time everyday will help you recharge and stay grounded as we go through this journey one day at a time.
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