Waiting to see what the new realities of everyday life are going to be like during the Coronavirus pandemic? Well, it all starts from home, where you and your kids will be spending most of your time for the foreseeable future. The right approach will mean the difference between hours upon hours of boredom, or worse, tension, stress and fear, and productive time spent working, learning and enjoying time with your kids that you might have never had or will have again.
It’s not going to be easy but talking with your children, sharing feelings with one another and making them feel safe will go a long way to getting through all you will face together.
Setting Realistic Expectations
Set Up Routines
The very things that often make ordinary everyday life mundane and predictable are the things we will begin to miss soon as we are largely bound to our homes. For kids, although it may be hard to believe, they will soon begin to long for the days where they had to get up at the same time, get dressed, have breakfast and be shipped off to school. To lessen what will already be major changes, make sure to follow as much of a routine as possible. Have them go to sleep and wake up at around the same times. Take showers or baths at regular times. Avoid them spending the entire day in pajamas and get them dressed in the morning. Prepare meals for them at the same times as they would during normal circumstances.
Homeschooling for Everyone
Get Them Involved in Home Life
Homeschooling is not the only way to have children participate in productive activities. Make sure your child continues with his daily chores and even increasing their workload is advisable in certain circumstances. Even if your child is too young to have chores, involve them in setting the table, feeding the dog, putting away dishes and other daily activities which will make them feel like important members of the family unit. Give them the chance to take on additional responsibility and they will more likely than not take on the challenge as it will make them feel like active participants in getting through the Coronavirus pandemic. And don’t forget to praise them for helping out around the house.
Schedule Time for Fun and Outdoors
While you want to keep your children doing productive work both in terms of schooling and chores, you also want to build in fun to their regular schedule. That means singling out periodic times for them to play games, interact with friends and generally goof off. Just as recess allows your kids to release steam when they are in school, planning free time at home will have similarly positive effects.
It is also critical to get your children outdoors whenever possible. Although different challenges come with each neighborhood and living arrangement, it is advisable to get your kids outside and active whenever possible. Whether that means playing a sport or just taking a walk around the neighborhood. Get them outside and breathing fresh air.
Digital to the Rescue
The availability of digital devices – whether they be video games, streaming devises, or social media platforms – is going to be critical during these times. Your children can continue to connect with family and friends that otherwise would be largely unavailable, they can watch shows both for education and entertainment and they can continue to feel part of the social fabric of the world to get a real sense of unity and solidarity during trying circumstances.
From listening to books and podcast on your device, to playing crossword puzzles and even doing yoga together or meditating, there are an amazing number of apps you and your children can take advantage of when you are at home. Check out this list put together by CNBC.
Though field trips are something that we won’t be seeing for a while, virtual field trips are a great way to educate kids and get their minds out of the house even if their bodies can’t be. You and your kids can visit a number of museums and zoos around the world that are offering virtual tours to look at everything from fine art and exotic animals. Check out The Louvre, Van Gogh Museumand Guggenheim Museum For a virtual vacation to anywhere on the planet, launch Google Earth and zip around the world exploring with your children.
A word of caution, set time restrictions on how much time your kids should be spending online and continue to monitor what information they are seeing.
Get Crafty and Creative
Nobody knows how long the current situation will continue or if it will get more and more restrictive. But no matter what the outside world does, the inside of your home can be a cauldron of creativity for you and your children. We have yet to come close to the limits of human creativity and all you need to tap into your own and that of your children is to sit down and focus on coming up with a fun game, craft activity or even some stimulating conversation.
A recent article in Time.com suggested a variety of easy indoor activities sure to interest your children while also providing uses for items that you might have discarded and even getting to clean. Among them were Toy-Washing Bin, where you let your kids wash their plastic toys in a big bin (fun and teaches good sanitary habits; Box Road, where you flatten a box and draw a map with roads in marker, while also adding blocks as buildings and other toys to create virtual cityscapes; and Trash Art, where you allow your kids to pain everyday items instead of throwing them away.