Hang in there, we've got this!
I wanted to take this time to connect with you - check in and see how you're doing.
I understand that due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, families all over the world are attempting to adapt to the changes in daily life. Most schools are closed and moving to virtual learning, and parents and other caregivers are helping their children adjust to the new way of life. This includes trying to mange our responsibilities as parents first, as employees, for those who are still working and as teachers overseeing distance learning due to school closures. None of this is easy, but it is important to remember that our children are looking to us to provide the love and direction they need during this critical period.
Here are a few things we've found to be helpful for our family:
Have open, honest and age-appropriate conversations with your children about what is going on.
Ask questions. Answer questions they may have, to the best of your ability. Infuse hope and let them know that this situation is temporary and things will change for the better, soon.
Plan daily activities in advance. We create a weekly schedule for our family on Sunday evenings. Everyone is involved in this process, including our six year old son.
Let the kids decide! Give them a list of educational activities and let them decide what they want to do and how they want to learn. Of course, this is in addition to their school work, if time permits. Try not to overwhelm them with too much learning.
Create a dedicated space for distance learning. This past weekend, with the help of my son, I organized his school supplies and set up a dedicated space for school work during this time at home. Because he helped with the process, he knows exactly where everything is and where it needs to be stored after he is done at the end of the day.
Keep it fun! Children will enjoy the process if it is fun. Make learning fun. Get creative.
Allow breaks and free time! We all need breaks from work and learning. Children are no different. Allow for breaks and free play, where they can do whatever they want.
Incorporate Exercise to Keep Moving! Exercise is so important to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. Incorporate it into your family routine and stick to it. My son does karate twice a week. His karate school sends out videos they can do at home. Our family is also currently doing a 30 day workout challenge.
Check in regularly. Check in as a family to see how everyone is doing, emotionally and mentally.
Change it up. Play around with your schedule. Change it up to keep kids interested and engaged. There are so many ways to learn.
Schedule virtual play dates or hangouts. This has really worked out nicely for us. My son misses his school buddies and other friends. I have reached out to other parents who were happy to schedule some time for the kids to connect and give us a break.
Take some time for yourself. It is important to take time to manage your mental health during this period. Waking up earlier than the rest of my household has provided the opportunity to focus on the things I need to do for me. I meditate or pray, exercise and get some other personal stuff done before my family wakes up.
Hang in there, parents! We've got this!
In solidarity and with much love,
p.s. Please share in the comments some of the things you are doing to manage your family during this time. :)