Schools across the country are closing, sending kids home to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus.
While kids are relatively safe from the pandemic, parents still face a lot of decisions about what to do with them during the health crisis.
Here are a few tips, from how to work from home while minding the kids, to fun activities to do together.
Explain what’s going on
Step one of cohabitating with your young ones is to explain to them why they’re not at school like usual. The New York Times suggests framing the conversation for their age, but don’t lie. There’s enough misinformation about coronavirus around already. Tell them they’re home to help protect their community and commend them for the public service they’re doing. And be sure they’re keeping up that responsibility by regularly washing their hands well.
Rely on remote school resources
If your family has access to remote learning tools, over the internet or physical take-home packets, keep your kid on schedule with their schooling. Stick to the usual school schedule as much as possible, breaking up the day with natural periods and meals at the normal times. Melanie Auerbach of the Sheridan School in D.C. explained to the Washington Post that, “They don’t forget how to read. … They’ve forgotten how to do school. … A change in their regular routine makes a big difference.”
Create your own learning experiences
If the school is unable to provide your child with enough learning materials to get through a week, let alone however long COVID-19 will keep everyone home, you’ll have to get creative to keep kids from missing out on valuable education time. The Atlantic suggests creating challenges in a range of subjects, from math to reading to reasoning. Create a math puzzle using objects in your own home, actively read together with your child by stopping occasionally to ask questions about the story, or challenge them to create a pillow fort to utilize spatial reasoning.
Set up remote play dates
NPR points out that isolation doesn’t necessarily mean disconnection. Kids shouldn’t miss out on critical bonding time with peers. Along with relatives, be sure to set up virtual hangout sessions between your kids and their friends. It’ll keep everyone in good spirits, and will ensure kids get the socialization they crave and require.
Go outside when you can
If your city isn’t currently under a shelter in place order, find time to safely go out when you can. Utilize a backyard or front stoop where you can practice social distancing while getting some sunshine, or take a quick walk around the block while avoiding close encounters with others.
Strategize with your boss and partner
Be open with your boss about your availability to work with kids home from school. If you have a partner available to coparent, trade shifts watching the young ones while the other fulfills responsibilities.