For weeks now, life has looked different for families across the country. More time is being spent at home, routines are changing, and children have made the transition to learning from home with distance learning.
I have been working with parents and students who have shared their thoughts, frustrations, and fears with all of the changes taking place. They want to know how to manage this new way of living.
The new structure at home can feel overwhelming and challenging as you try to create new routines and take on new roles. As you navigate this time, here are 5 tips to help you and your kids feel successful and make the most out of this unusual time.
Kids thrive when provided structure and routine. If you are having a difficult time getting your child to sit down and get to work, know that you are not alone! Making this transition to learning from home can be challenging.
One way to help ease this transition is to spend some time with your kids and choose the best place for them to get their schoolwork done. Having a designated area for learning helps kids focus and understand their role when they are in that space.
When kids are in school, they have a structured routine that is consistent each day. Create consistency at home by having a designated time to engage in schoolwork. Research has shown that mornings are often the most productive time for people. Pick a time early in the day that works for your family and aim for a couple of good, academic hours (time will vary depending on your child’s age).
When starting something new, it is important that we build our stamina. Oftentimes I hear from parents that their kids have a difficult time sitting still and getting their work done. One way we can help with this is by breaking their schoolwork into manageable chunks of time. Set a timer for your child, again depending on their age, and have them spend “focused time” with their schoolwork. You may need to start out with just 5, 10, or 15 minutes of “focused time” and build from there. Once their timer goes off, allow them to pick a fun activity - preferably one that involves movement – that they would like to engage in for a brief period of time, and then have them get back to work. This can help to reduce procrastination and allow for the workload to feel more manageable.
Having this time at home with your kids provides a great opportunity to help them explore new interests and hobbies. Take time to cook, bake, draw, play board games, build things, etc. These are all great ways to take a break from academics and can be a great way to connect as a family. Make a list each week of things you would like to try. If you document your experiences you will create a fun journal to reflect back on together.
If the weather permits, get outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. This is a great time to go on bike rides, energizing walks, and to play outdoor games. You can create scavenger hunts or play “I Spy” to help your kids explore the neighborhood. Spending time outside can help reduce feelings of worry and pent up energy from being in doors.
This season of Covid-19 may be a very stressful time for parents and kids alike. Try your best to not compare your family to others because we all have different coping skills and strategies. If you need to put on a movie to get through the day, that's absolutely fine. Planning is helpful and important, but not every day will go as planned. Each new day provides the opportunity to start fresh and continue to learn and grow together.
Remind yourself, “These difficult times will not be with us forever, but for now I have the opportunity to love on my family, do my best to slow down, and create healthy routines to help my children cope and even thrive.”
Live, Work and Relate Well!
Kristen Linaman-Weleba, MA, LPC