In the midst of the country’s pandemic, parents everywhere are affected by the closings of our schools. For many who are accustomed to sending their little beauties off to be taught by teachers for an 8 hour day, now find themselves Principal, kitchen staff, teacher and coach. Be not dismayed parents, help is on the way!
So how can you balance the daily responsibility of teaching your children and maintaining your sanity at the same time? As a former teacher and parent of 4, I’d like to suggest some options that may make the coming weeks and months more bearable for all involved.
1-Take a Deep Breath– Children take their life ques from their parents. If you panic, they panic, if you are afraid, then they will be afraid. Although this may be an uncomfortable situation, it is the one we have to accept for the moment. Breath through it and seek helpful resources for your own personal sanity.
2-Create a Homework Schedule -Many teachers are submitting assignments online via various platforms that your child is already familiar like google classroom, student email, and remind alerts. Students know their login credentials to enter sites and this should not be new territory for them. Print or copy a blank calendar for each week and align it with the necessary assignments based off at 5 hour work day. Of course they may attend school for 8 hours but they don’t spend that much time physically working. A 25 hour at-home school day should suffice all the work provided by the teacher. If they are in middle school or higher allow them to create their own schedule based off the teacher communication. Make sure they break for lunch and at least a 30 minute “reset” of something that helps them refresh (even if its a power nap).
3-Stay in Contact with the Teacher– My son’s teacher sends messages via remind, however, those that I haven’t heard from I reached out via their school email. I even suggested they conduct at least one “Zoom” Live class per week to keep the students engaged and connected. If you don’t understand something ASK FOR ASSISTANCE!
4-Use Your Network– Parents who still have to work while their kids remain at home may need some additional support. Without risking spreading the virus, consider who you can partner with to minimize the stress of having the kids with you or home alone. Consider partnering with a friend who has children in the same age category and alternate who teaches them for a set number of days then switch. These can be done virtually if quarantines are in place in your area.
5-Maximize family time on the weekends– Don’t expect your student to work on Saturdays and Sundays, use this time to enjoy quality family time. Do what you all love to do together or learn something new together. If weekly worship is not available through your religious sector, render it at home with your family.
6-Maintain a Sleep/Awake Routine– Kids will stay up all night even after you’ve put them to bed if you aren’t careful. Keeping your student on a regular “school night” regimen will help them with focus as well as maintaining their immune system. Get them up for the school day (ideally children perform better after 9 am) shower, make the bed and breakfast.
7-Stay ACTIVE– If you have a private yard then get outside as much as possible. Let them practice their sports or favorite hobbies while maintaining social distancing. Encourage them to try activities indoors like Yoga, Dance, or video workouts so they remain physically fit. Utilize online puzzle books, adult coloring books, board games and card games.
8-READ, READ, READ– Don’t have any library books checked out? Using the Hoopla app register with your library card and ensure that YOU and your student are reading. Read the book of a movie that they love and talk about the differences in the writing versus what was on screen. Read something funny, romantic or adventurous, but let them choose.
9-Introduce Life Skills- Life skills can be an added “curriculum” once a week in the 5 hour school work day. Teach your student to darn a sock, sew a button, cook a meal, bake a cake, start a blog, change a tire, make virtual vision boards, meditate…be creative with what you know and reteach them while you have their undivided attention.
10-ENJOY their Company– Have fun with your kids. Pull on their personalities and see how you can help them maximize on their gifts. Laugh often and watch less of the news. Listen to their thoughts during this season and address any fears or uncertainties. Help them connect with their friends through media like Zoom or Facebook Live. Celebrate their successes, daily!
Children will learn how to handle a crises by watching their parents. These actions will help them develop into successful adults if they start now and continue beyond this virus. If you find any of these ten tips helpful or have additional ones that work for you and your family, please share. May God’s protection and provision be ever present for you and your families during these perilous times.
Proverbs 22:6 NIV
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”