With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, school-aged children have received a break from attending schools and, in some cases, classes, and this break could last a few weeks or even longer. Many parents have shifted their work responsibilities to an in-home environment. Balancing the demands of telework and regular life with school-aged children at home, in addition to infants and toddlers at home, can be extremely challenging.
Here are some tips to help balance your own work responsibilities and manage your children at home.
- Keep your regular morning routines even though the children may not be physically going to school (e.g., wake up, brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast).
- Remain in communication with your child’s teachers and school to help plan daily activities. You can make a schedule of what your child can do throughout the day.
- Reading time
- Bedtime routines help keep your children on track. Just because there is no school doesn’t mean they can’t keep their same bedtime!
- To help keep the routine, make a chart for your child to look at so he or she can feel independent, track his or her activities, and learn how to manage his or her time.
- Go outside with your kids to take a walk around the block or in nature, or kick a soccer ball in the yard, or play tag.
- If it’s raining outside, have a dance party or play Simon Says or any physical board game, like Twister!
- Screen time is inevitable during these challenging times. Regulating recreational screen time can be difficult, but creating and using a media plan can be helpful.
- Limit screen time by blocking out periods of time when your children can watch specific shows on TV or play specific video games. Be sure to explain when these times will occur and how long these periods of time will be to your children. You could use a chart, like the example one above, to help young children visualize these concepts.
- Watch TV shows or surf the internet with your kids so you can ensure they are viewing age-appropriate media. You can take this opportunity to talk about safe media usage and to connect with your child.
- Visit and engage in educational or story time apps with your children.
- PBS Kids (ages 2+)
- Fish School (preschoolers)
- Phonics Ninja (ages 4+)
- Todo Math (ages 5+)
- Scratch Jr. teaches kids how to code (ages 5+)
- Middle School Math Planet (supports Common Core ages 10+)
- Science 360 (ages 12+)
- Coolmath games (ages 13+)
- Storyline Online
- Explore the following websites with your child to find some fun age-appropriate activities.
- National Geographic Young Explorer offers articles for children who are 6 years old and older in Scout and Voyager editions. To read previous issues, click the more issues tab. https://ngexplorer.cengage.com/ngyoungexplorer/index.html
- Google Arts and Culture engages audiences in virtual tours of museums around the world. https://artsandculture.google.com/
- Lunch doodles with Mo Willems is offered every day at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Join Mo Willems and draw with pencils, paper, and crayons with this Kennedy Center artist. https://www.kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willems/
- Virtual Zoo Lessons and Live Streaming is available via Facebook and websites Monday through Friday at various times throughout the day:
- Mystery Science offers science lessons for kindergarten to 5th grade students. https://mysteryscience.com/school-closure-planning
Remember to practice self-care as a parent right now. You are juggling work, children, and homeschool responsibilities while living in an uncertain world right now. It is normal and understandable that you may feel increased stress and anxiety. Try some of these tips to help you cope with your new reality right now.
- Keep your routine as a parent.
- Make sure to fit in the activities that make you feel grounded, like reading for 30 minutes uninterrupted.
- Eat the foods that make you feel good.
- Release stress by engaging in exercise. If you are used to going to a gym, go up and down the stairs in your home to get your heart going or take a fast walk, without the children, to clear your head!
- Reach out to your network of family and friends.
At the end of the day Mom, Dad, Parental Unit, give yourselves a break. You are doing the best you can under extreme circumstances!