Schools and many child care providers are currently closed for an extended period of time. Those who can are staying home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This has created a challenge for parents who are now at home with their kids. So, what should you do while you and your kids are stuck at home? How do you deal with cabin fever and the loss of learning while kids are out of school? Below are tips that may help you through this adjustment.
Keep your routine going.
- Maintain your child’s routine as closely as possible. Continue to get up at the same time as always and get ready for the day.
- Structure can help overcome the stress from so much change and uncertainty.
- Set aside time for learning and play.
- Try to maintain a sense of normalcy.
It’s all about the plan.
- Planning activities in advance can save you a headache later. You could let your kids help choose some of the activities as well. This can give your children a sense of control during a potentially stressful and scary time.
- Pick a theme to structure the week’s plans around. Let the kids get creative! Have your children help choose a theme for the week ahead.
- If you have a partner at home as well, split your time with the kids so that each of you can have time to get any work you need to complete done.
- Make sure to include some sort of physical activity to burn off some of that excess energy.
Include cleaning activities, like wiping down commonly touched surfaces in the home, to help children understand how they are fighting the spread of COVID-19 too!
Reading is an excellent way to spend your time.
- Read stories with your children and discuss them. Ask questions about the story and try to guess what will happen next. For older kids, have them write a book report.
- Even though libraries are closed, they still offer e-books for checkout. The Kindle app can be downloaded on your computer if you do not have an e-reader. This is a great, free resource for older kids who can read on their own.
- Libraries also offer audio books.
Everything can be a lesson.
- Cooking can be math, reading, and science all rolled into one fun lesson! Great kid-friendly recipes can be found online. Measurements can be turned into math problems and mixing can be a science lesson.
- Make spelling or math fun by letting kids work out problems or copy spelling lists on windows with easy-to-clean, dry-erase markers or use sidewalk chalk outside. Make sure they have the supplies to clean their work when they’re done.
- Have children practice handwashing techniques. They can choose different songs to sing while they wash their hands. Have a science lesson about the spread of germs.
- There are great resources for online learning that can be found on the internet by searching for age group and subject. You can locate anything from lesson plans and science experiments to virtual tours of museums online.
Don’t let social distancing cause you to lose contact. We are all in this together!
- Let kids keep in contact with their friends via phone or video chat. Social time is still important for kids. A chance to talk to their friends or family members that they cannot visit right now could make your children feel better about the situation.
- Talk to other parents about what they are doing to keep kids entertained and learning. You are not alone. Other parents are facing the same struggles. Sharing ideas can help overcome these obstacles.
- There are lots of blogs written by stay-at-home moms available online, and these can be great resources for new ideas.
Get outside when you can.
- If the weather is nice, give the kids a chance to play outside in the yard for a while.
- The backyard is a great place to complete messy science experiments. These activities save time and make clean up easy.
- Take a walk as a family through the neighborhood.
- If your local parks are open, consider going for a walk on a trail that isn’t busy. This can be a great chance to talk and learn about nature.
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Fetters, A. (2020, March 16). How parents can keep kids busy (and learning) in quarantine [Blog post]. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
Five Minute Mum. (2020, March 13). All day at home with kids—how do I structure the day? [Blog post]. Retrieved March 20, 2020.