When we started the year, I don’t think any of us saw this coming; it is unlike anything most most of us have seen in our lifetime! These are definitely some uncertain times we are in. I know many are feeling overwhelmed with their kids not going to school for the next two weeks or months, and your routine is now completely out the window. Many of you are struggling with how to care for your kids and still work. It is not an easy task.
I am by no means an expert, but I do have about 10 years of homeschooling under my belt, so I thought I’d give a few suggestions that might help some of us as we go through weeks (or months) of social distancing:
- Take a deep breath. You can do this! You maybe have always said you “aren’t the homeschooling type” and that’s okay. Don’t look at this as you now homeschooling, you are public schooling at home – I’m assuming your child’s school has given work that needs to be done while the kids are home. Your job is to just oversee that it gets done. You don’t have to make it any more than that. Give your kids some much needed breaks from the computer screens to get up and move with these Free Printable Brain Break Cards!
- Don’t put too much pressure on a “schedule.” If you are someone who likes a schedule you can grab our Free (Editable) School at Homes Schedule to use as a guide. But remember it is just that… a guide. Not one will be upset if you deviate from it or something takes longer than anything else. (That is one of the beauties of homeschooling). So don’t stress thinking it is 9:30am, we should be doing “such-and-such” right now! Remmber the goal is to create a peaceful home where your kids won’t feel all the anxiety in the world right now. You and your family are an island with the #stayathome #flattenthecurve. So there are no extermal sources making demands of your family – get thing done at your families pace, in your families unique way. If math takes longer, no worries. If you break to play a fun game (see our 101+ Activities for Kids in Social Isolation) – great! Enjoy the special memories you will create; ENJOY your kids. Sure, your kids need to get their work done, but it doesn’t have to be all schoolwork all day. Switch it up if you can! Play all morning and do it in the afternoon. Routine is good, but I don’t think anything about the next few weeks will be routine for anyone.
- Have fun. Kids are very perceptive to what we, their parents, are feeling. And kids internalize that stress and it will make them more likely to get sick and more likely to be adultts filled with anxiety. You set the tone for your family. If we act scared, panicked, stressed, irritated…. most likely they will too. But if we act relaxed and excited about a change of pace, they will feed off of that and act that way too. Wear dress-ups to school, sleep in, or stay in your jammies all day. Change up your routine and have a family dance party in the morning, watch a movie after breakfast, or make a craft you’ve been planning to do for the longest time. Keep your bedtime, or ditch it all together and have a sleepover in the living room. Do some of those things that you always wanted to do, but school and extra curricular activites always got in the way.
- There will be fights, complaining, and moments you are ready to send them back to school. Kids are still kids and you are all learning to navigate being in the same houes 24/7. You will get under each others skin and get in the way. There will be meltdowns (maybe even a few from you!) I think it’s an unwritten rule somewhere that kids must whine a certain number of times a week. As much as we feel uncertain, they do too. Their schedule has been disrupted as well. And, being kids (teenagers, too!), it’s harder for them to process all their emotions and thoughts, so it often comes out as fighting or whining. This might help you when reacting to their behaviour.
- Feeling overwhelmed? It’s okay to just stop everything and play a video game / board game, watch a movie, or send them to their respective corners to read a book (maybe making a reading competition and have them enjoy reading time every day! It is good for them and a great chance to give everyone, you included, the space you will need!) There are some days that I let the kids watch more movies than I normally would – simply because I need that time where they aren’t bickering or whining to me. (You can always have them watch an educational movie on Disney+ Nature, Libery Kids, etc. and it is still “school time”)
- Put your phone away! I know the desire to keep up on the latest developments is strong. And the media does a good job of making us feel like the news changes every few seconds, but I promise you will will be plenty up-to-date if you put your phone away and just look at it a couple times a day. Give your kids your undivided attention; let them know they are the most important thing at that moment in time. This is great for bonding, and reducing stress / anxiety in your children AND you! The evening recap of everything is a more exciting read anyhow =)
- Teach life skills. Sometimes life is so busy we don’t have (or make) time to teach kids to cook, sew, do laundry, etc. Use this time at home to bake cookies together or mend a sock. Do laundry together or plant a garden. (you can still order seeds from amazon) Doing these things together not only build memories, but teaches valuable things you may not have thought ot teach your children.
- Get some exercise. Your kids are use to a lot of physical activity in their lives – from recess to organized sports, etc. Without some intentional effort, they may become more sedentary at home. Make sure to encourage kids playing (in social isolation) in your backyard, dance parties, Wiifit, etc. Besides getting the wiggles out, exercise keeps our bodies healthy and strong and better able to ward of illness.
- Hug and kiss your kids! This may seem obvious, but kids will be stressed – everything they are use to has just changed. They have a new routine, are missing their friends, and want to play in their previously scheduled soccer game. They need lots of encouragement from parents – both your words, your physical affection, and your calm.
- Enjoy this time with your kids. I think we all would say our kids grow up so fast! And they seem to grow up faster each year that goes by. Time with them is precious, and something we usually can’t control because we feel S as if our schedules dictate our lives. But here we are – finding ourselves with all this “extra” time together. See this time as a blessing. Look at it as a time to get to know your kids a bit better, to play with them, to talk with them more.
Let’s remember – we are ALL in this together. This isn’t something that is affecting just one family, town, state, or even country. Every child will be academically behind or in a different place as a result of this. They aren’t going to hold your kid back and you aren’t going to ruin your child’s future. We all are having thoughts like “what in the world is going on!?!?” Just breathe. Let’s enjoy the day we have. And take this one day at a time!
When we get through this, I bet everyone will have some pretty interesting stories to share and pass down to future generations.
Looking for more fun ideas with your family? Try our 40+ April Activies for Kids or these fun April Crafts for Kids. Spend time reading together as a family with our April Stories for Kids, Childrens Books to Read, or our Bookcase Reading Logs to have a friendly family reading contest.
Plus don’t miss our other great articles on surviving the pandemic:
- 15 Ways to Avoid Social Isolation as you Shelter at Home
- Conversation Starters – Stay Connected with Grandparents During Social Isolation
- Sorry, you are NOT Homeschooling – debunking the homeschooling is too hard myth
- 101 FUN Things to do in Isolation
- Is your Family Driving you Nuts in Social Isolation? Try this!
- School Closure Guide for Parents – lots of practical tips for parents!
- Brain Breaks for kids – studies show that taking a 3-5 minutes brain break increases productivity for the next 45 minutes! Plus, kids need to get the wiggles out and not sit in front of a screen all day as they school at home!
- Keep encouraging kids to wash their hands to fight germs with these 40+ FREE Printable Wash Your Hands Posters
- 1 million FREE Worksheets, Games, and Activities for Prek-8th grade
- Learn about other countries in the news: Spain Coloring Pages, Italy Coloring Pages, China Coloring Pages
- 40 Virtual Fieldtrips for Families practining Social Distancing