The coronavirus outbreak has forced schools to close, and parents are finding the prospect of teaching their kids very daunting. Many parents now have to maintain their own remote work schedule while also making sure that the kids are continuously stimulated – a task that seems impossible to many mommies and daddies.
Here are a few tips to help you find the balance.
A routine helps to create an environment where children feel secure, but creating a daily schedule will also make your task much easier, especially if you are also working remotely. A routine also helps to maintain some semblance of normalcy, while also providing structure and momentum.
If you let your child have a hand in planning a daily schedule that works for everyone, they’ll be much more likely to adhere to it. Have your child draw up their daily schedule on a piece of paper and put it up somewhere they can always see it.
Of course, there’s no point in creating a schedule if it’s not always followed exactly – don’t make exceptions, or you’ll be sorry down the line. Childhood development experts describe a normal attention span as two to three minutes per year of their age. This means learners in grade 3 (if they do not have ADHD) should have an attention span of between 18 and 27 minutes. Keep this in mind when devising your child’s schedule.
When setting up your children’s schedule, make sure to include time for physical activity during the day. When they go to school, kids are used to having breaks dedicated solely to play, which is why you should make sure that you also make ample room for physical activities that you can do at home.
Drawing a small hopscotch court on the ground and laying out sheets of toilet paper that can serve as makeshift “balance beams” are simple ways to ensure your child does activities that help to keep their gross motor skills in check while they’re not at school.
Every household does not have the luxury of study in the house, but you should try to dedicate one part of your home almost exclusively to schoolwork. Whether it is your child’s bedroom or the dining room table, there should be a space that can be used exclusively for learning, even if it is only for those times of the day when your child is doing their schoolwork. Using a specific space helps your child to get into the right mindset and to separate recreation from work.
Combining chores and learning hits two birds with one stone. For example, letting your kids help out in the kitchen can be a great opportunity to practice math with recipes, and reading doesn’t have to be limited to the books they are reading for school. Having your kids help with the laundry is a great way to practice their concept of colours, while helping with dinner teaches them to follow instructions.
Like the rest of us, your kids may be feeling anxious about the future and depressed about not seeing their friends. This is a good time to check in with your child about what they are feeling and to set their minds at ease. Try to validate their emotions – while not being able to go to soccer practice or see their teacher might seem like tiny issues to you, you must try to remember that your child’s life has also been completely disrupted. Even if nobody can predict just what the future will be like, you should try to give your children a sense of security by not discussing your concerns about finances and job security in front of them, and by ensuring them that this, too, shall pass.
As much as the national lockdown is playing havoc on our lives now, your child will certainly remember the quality time they have with you now when they are older. Cherish the opportunity to get to know your little one. We can’t wait to welcome them back to school very soon!