For many of our children, school’s out...for a while, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re as stumped about how to occupy your children while they’re social distancing, you’re not alone. Kids are a powerhouse of energy! Now it’s up to you to harness that energy...all day. While working from home, in some cases. Did somebody say “Help!” Never mind the fact that not everyone has a yard for their child to play in.
When The Guardian reached out to teachers about how parents can tackle home learning, keeping to a routine was the first piece of advice. The structure will help make any home learning easier, and reinforce that this isn’t just an extended vacation.
Depending on their age, let them lend a hand! When you’re cooking, give them a simple task to help out. Maybe they can string the beans, tear the lettuce or shred the spaghetti squash.
If you need to burn some energy quick, have a dance party. Make it a game where the music goes on for even 30 seconds, and you and your child dance your butts off as hard as you can for that set amount of time. It gives them a structured way to let out a burst of energy. And it’s fun for you as well. Then when you shout “30 second dance party” you can watch their eyes light up and you get to boogie together.
Assign your child a task, but make it really REALLY important. Drawing a picture for their dad, or making a finger painting for the cat. Whatever it is, make it fun, simple, and make it mission critical. This will occupy their time, make them feel useful and promote autonomy.
Don’t overcomplicate occupying your child’s time. Their little minds are filled with a million different worlds, and their imaginations need time to wander. Did you know boredom is actually good for your health? Remember being a kid and spending hours occupied in the backyard with nothing but a stick? Give your kid that same gift of boredom, when you can.
The age old—well, years old—problem when it comes to bringing up children in a modern world. How do you manage screen time? But even more challenging—how do you manage screen time during social distancing? Make it predictable. You may already be doing that, but it’s extra integral to stick to set times and routines in these unorthodox times.
This is a scary time, but what can be beautiful are some of the opportunities for human connection. When the time is right (not when trying to get that work report done from your kitchen table) instead of trying to distract your child, make sure to take time to connect with them. Turn off the screens when you’re connecting. Make sure to have regular hugs. Read a book together. Let them know how much you appreciate them (even though sometimes you want to pull your hair out, but we won’t tell).
How are you keeping your kids busy from home?
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