With schools shut down and little ones learning from home due to the coronavirus, there may be some extra free time during the day. It can be difficult to keep children busy and engaged in anything, but Buckner child specialists have put together a list of tips and tricks to keep kids focused on their school while parents work, as well as activities for when homeschooling becomes too stressful.
Create a routine
It is important to keep children on a routine each day, so they know what to expect when they wake up in the morning. Schedule their learning breaks, snack times, lessons, lunch and even wake up time to maintain a balanced life at home. Waking up at the same time each day and getting dressed as if they were going to school can make a huge difference in the attitude and productivity of the day.
Each household will have a different schedule, and it is recommended to find one that works best for individual families. If school work cannot be done until the evening hours, create a routine that let’s children know when they will be expected to be a student in the house.
Schedule your meetings and calls when they can be alone
It is important to also allow time for children to be alone with their imaginations and be creative with their time. For parents who are working remotely, Buckner recommends scheduling conference calls and meetings for when children can be left in their own imagination and entertain themselves.
Allow yourself flexibility with free time
Children have very limited attention spans, which means the time available for them to sit and focus is short. Once they have been sitting for an extended period of time, Buckner encourages taking what’s called a brain break to get up and move around, shifting focus off of school work for a couple of minutes. Have them stand up from their chair and do a silly dance or take a walk. Getting fresh air and keeping their blood flowing can increase productivity and improve focus among both adults and kids.
GoNoodle has a YouTube channel with guided dances to popular song for kids of all ages and is used by many teachers in schools. Other recourses recommended by Buckner include virtual museum tours, Art for Kids Hub on YouTube for drawing tutorials and podcasts such as “Story Pirates” that encourages and prompts your kids to write. These are all free for anyone to use.
Get creative with homeschooling
What’s fun about homeschooling is parents can find what is working best for their children and can be creative. Lessons can be taught through games with young ones and moved outside when possible. Some fun ways to incorporate a lesson into outdoor play is to write spelling words in chalk, jump on the trampoline and do a trick for every right answer or set up a relay race with math questions at each stop.
Pinterest is a great resource where parents can find creative ways to homeschool. Parents can search for specific lessons such as math, reading or science in specific age category and find a multitude of ideas.
Let them help you around the house
Buckner recommends allowing kids to help with dinner, setting the table, make cookies or even sit at the table while you cook. It is important for children to feel involved in daily activities at home as a way to build strong and united families during a time of uncertainty.
Being at home full time and working with kids may be challenging but these tips and tricks should help you and your little ones transition to this new normal.
Have some ideas we didn’t mention? Comment below your tips and tricks for keeping parents and kids happy while being cooped up indoors.