Schools all over the United States (and the world, for that matter) are closing indefinitely. Now that doesn’t mean it will be forever, but it may feel like it when we are all asked to stay in-doors and stay away from other people.
What do you do? While I am no expert, but speaking from experience, as my kids have gone from Spring Break to school closing TFN, they are getting cabin fever. I am sure, if yours haven’t yet, they will.
There are some things we can do to lessen the pressure. What many of us may want to think about is “what did people do back in the day?”. It could also mean loosening some of the rules, for the time being. Because we live in a world where we are so digitally connected, it is very easy for all of us to fall into the trap of being on video games and watching TV all day long.
No one wants that. It leads to many bad things I won’t go into here. But here is how we make a, potentially, bad situation better.
- First and foremost: DO NOT THROW OUT STRUCTURE!!!
- Set up a schedule for the kids. Basically, map out how each day will go. Since most schools are now doing home learning, set up time for the kids to get up and get ready for school, as usual. Then figure out how you want them to tackle school work. It should be set up just as any learning environment. No distractions and make sure the kids have the ability to ask you and their teachers questions (via email, text, portal, etc.)
- While structure is a must, so is time for self. You, as a parent/caregiver need time to escape. The kids also need time to self-entertain. No, that doesn’t mean plop them in front of videogames, TV (I will hit on that next). They need to learn how to play by themselves and with siblings (if they have them).
- It may be ok to open up screen time. In our house, my kids are only allowed 1 hour of screen time per day. While that seems restrictive, they don’t complain, as they get screen time at school. (here is a link to give you an idea of what happens with screen time in kids…click here. and here) In our house, because this is an extraordinary circumstance, we will be opening up to 1 hour, 2 times a day (maybe 3, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it)
- Board and card games: Go old school! Uno, Sorry, Monopoly. Some of these games can last for quite some time, engage the kids brains with educational benefits, if played properly. They can teach math, social interaction and strategic thinking.
- Limit the news. Want a stresser for you AND the kids? That would be it. Be informed, yes. Then learn the best way to explain it to the kids. This is also a great time to talk about emotions. While you may have your own emotions to deal with, your kids emotions need to be dealt with as well. Check in with the kids on how they are feeling. Let them get mad, cry, talk. You may also want to check your insurance; many plans allow for tele-mental health services.
- Sleep: Keep to you normal sleep schedule for you AND the kids. This keeps in the same mindset as structure, above. Keeping similar sleep patterns will make things a bit more tolerable,a s sleep and emotions are directly related.
Keep in mind, this is what my home does. They aren’t a one size fits all, but hopefully these are idea starters. There are bunch of other ideas. If you have other ideas, please comment on the Facebook post and let’s share some ideas.