Our entire world has shifted. This day in time leads us all to feel a bit anxious and unwell. COVID-19 has changed our lives in ways we never could have imagined. Schools are now running remotely. Businesses are closed. Events are canceled. It is not surprising that many of us are feeling more stress than usual. In this time, I think about the kids at our school. Fortunately, I have read countless articles and blog posts and learned there are ways to help our kids.
As COVID-19 has disrupted students’ lives in a lot of ways, it is very important your children have a sense of normalcy. In this case your children will regain a new sense of their “normal.” Structure is at the top of the list. Establish a routine at home:
Wake up, get dressed and eat breakfast at the same time they did when going to school
Go to a quiet area in the house to work on school assignments during the hours your children usually would be in school
Copy the school schedule (if possible) by switching activities every 40 minutes or so.
At “lunch time,” eat lunch together. On top of establishing a routine, it is equally as important to engage in self-care. It’s important for kids to get enough sleep, eat nutritious food, and engage in some sort of physical activity.
Stay connected, if possible. Although “social distancing” is meant to keep people separated and healthy, it is important they stay connect in other ways. Use things such as Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime to set up “virtual play dates.” It is important that children don’t feel alone.
Lastly, I’d like to provide examples of ways to help keep your children engaged and recognize that learning exists in even the simplest of interactions.
Laundry? When doing laundry, have your children help you. Relate it to math. Have them name the colors, find the matching socks, create patterns with the colors or types of clothing.
You can find patterns in the environment. (patterns are strongly related to early math skills)
Want to bake? Talk about numbers. Talk about measuring cups, the number of eggs used, the amount of flour used, how many ounces of water used, etc. Even setting the time on the oven and adjusting the temperature.
Take a walk outside and look for different things in your environment (what kinds of plants there are, what kinds of birds, etc.)
Create an obstacle course
Choose apps on your children’s devices that promote meaningful learning
When allowing your children to watch tv, choose an educational program
GoNoodle offers free mindfulness and movement videos created by child development experts
Hy-Vee KidsFit offers 15 to 20 minute workout videos every day, seven days a week
Play Fitness Deck. All you need is a deck of cards. Assign a different activity to each suit and follow the number on the card. An example:
Hearts - jumping jacks
Spades - sit- ups
Diamonds - push ups
Clubs - squats
Remember this: Children take their cues from adults whom they care about.
Stay safe and stay healthy! We will be back at APV soon.