Like every other year, it's time to go back to school! Only, this year, it's all going to be virtual. Of all the challenges this pandemic season has handed families, virtual schooling might be one of the greatest.
How will you manage your children's at-home learning?
I'm sharing a few tips from an expert, retired teacher - my mother Janet!
Kids Mirror Your Attitude
Yes, you may be freaked out about how you're going to manage this new norm - many are. Remember that your words and feelings about the situation need to be cloaked in positivity. Help them to find the good in living through a pandemic and the attitude of gratitude will be infectious.
How to Begin: A morning meeting to meditate, sort through the day and establish expectations is a great way to begin!
Kids Need Predictability & Structure
Schedules and organization of time and materials bring emotional safety and comfort to children instead of frustration. Knowing what's going to happen when, and knowing where to find the tools they need to complete their schoolwork is paramount.
How to Begin: Organize pencils, books, notebooks, computers, and markets in bins or shelves that are easily accessible. Keep track of work using clipboards, bulletin boards or charts. Assign jobs to different family members. Include your preschoolers in the plan so they don't derail the school train!
Kids Like to Be Where The Action Is
A rare older child will hide off in a bedroom to read or study, but most elementary school children want to be where the action is. Take advantage of this because children, for the most part, will need to be where you are in order to finish their work.
How to Begin: Create study stations in the kitchen, family room or around a table with the whole group. Minimize distractions for those who are less focused by encouraging the use of headphones. The positioning of work stations can also help combat this!
Kids Need Variety
Kids love to be active and have variety in their lives (it is, after all, the spice of life). Expecting children to stay in one chair all day will set us all up for failure, so vary their work station options!
How to Begin: Choose a hard surface for writing, a soft couch for projects, and pillows on the floor for extended reading or even ZOOM meetings. Get outside as much as possible for walks, bike rides, exploration or even a game of kickball.
Kids Like to Have Fun
Kids are extraordinary at soaking up facial expressions, so the tone of our voice or the look on your face can determine whether or not a situation is fun for them. Even the dreariest task can become lighter with a, "Let's have fun!" attitude. This is your opportunity to be silly and laugh at yourself! Also, ensure that you guard against kids making fun of each other - you want to keep a happy and light atmosphere to promote learning.
How to Begin: Surprise your kids with a song or dance break.
More than anything, take advantage of this time to watch your child learn and grow.
This too shall pass.