As families around the nation—and globe—cope with the rapidly emerging changes spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic, many are trying to figure out how to restructure their daily life.
With schools and daycare facilities temporarily closed, you may find yourself spending exponentially more time at home with your kids. During that time, how do you go about emulating a semblance of structure similar to what your family is used to?
Tips for Creating Structure
Your daily life for the time being may look unique based on various factors: whether you or a spouse are working from home; how many people are in your household; and the ages of your children. Because each family looks different, it follows they have different needs and preferences. However, if you’re wondering how to shape the wide expanses of time you now have with your young children each day, here are a few ideas:
1. Utilize Resources from School
Many school districts and even preschools have created digital curriculum for kids to use in the coming weeks. Do what you can with the resources provided but understand that not every child will adapt well to Zoom meetings and distance learning. You can stay in contact with your kid’s teacher(s) to navigate this unusual form of education and ensure your young student is doing what is necessary to successfully complete the school year.
2. Pick Activities to Do Consistently
Having a few activities that you routinely do each day can help create structure. Whether those activities include practicing an instrument for a half hour, doing an art project or science experiment, having quiet time, or cooking a meal together, the consistency is beneficial for young children. It gives kids something to expect and even look forward to each day. You also can set up daily or weekly video chat sessions with friends and families in your social network or organize a virtual social activity for your preschool/elementary school community.
3. Put Together a Schedule
Some families—although not all—may thrive even more by scheduling a full day of activities. You can set wakeup and mealtimes and then block out the rest of the day with activities assigned to each time period. If you have friends who homeschool their children, they may already implement such a system and be able to give you tips. There are also online resources from entities such as Wide Open School, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Family Education to help you develop a schedule that’s right for your family based one your children’s ages. For young children, it can be beneficial to give them two or three options during certain time slots to maintain flexibility and allow them to exercise decision-making.
4. Explore Alternate Types of Learning
There are plenty of life skills and interesting topics young children can learn at home by doing simple everyday things, like baking, gardening, drawing and playing board games. Use this time to teach your kids how to fold laundry, make their bed, cook a meal, organize a cupboard, sweep the floor, sew on a button, or build a wood planter. Even if your child already helps with household chores, now is a chance to guide them in mastering new skills and tasks. Additionally, multiple organizations, such as museums, science laboratories, and performing arts groups, are currently offering free resources, such as virtual tours, dance lessons, orchestra performances, and experiment ideas. Even JK Rowling has launched a Harry Potter-themed educational website. Now is a good time to take advantage of those offers and share a unique virtual experience with your child.
5. Have Fun With Your Kids
Structure is healthy and important for children, and some more than others, but ultimately, they are experiencing an unprecedented and confusing situation. What they need more than anything is your love, time, and attention. As much as you can while working from home, trying to find a new job, or coping with unemployment, be with your children and enjoy them. Invite them into your hobbies or discover new ones together. You might not have a teaching degree, but you have plenty of knowledge and skills to pass on.
Staying Connected to Your Network
One of the most important things you can do is stay connected to your social network to give and receive encouragement, inspiration, and suggestions. Go2s can help you do just that. Go2s is a safe, secure app that allows you to connect with your community, ask questions, and contribute ideas. To get started, register for a free account and begin building your private Go2s network.