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No matter how much you love your kid(s), being locked together for weeks and acting as a teacher can be challenging for anybody, especially with the added stress of a pandemic looming – jobs lost or endangered, fearing for loved ones. The more you struggle, the more your little one will feel your frustration. So, take a deep breath, follow our easy and practical ideas, and you’ll see that day by day, it will go smoother and more gleeful.
1. Establish Routines
In order to keep things under control in this precarious situation, a well planned daily routine becomes more important than ever. Let’s always try to get up on weekday mornings as if you are just going to work or school. Also, keep the morning rituals of getting ready, have a shower, get dressed and eat a nutritious breakfast. Before you start the classes, discuss the schedule with your child(ren) and try to stick to it. Call up a little family meeting once a week to see if anyone has a suggestion to increase the effectiveness of your routine, consider and make changes if needed.
2. Set a Clear Schedule
Kids not only need a general daily routine to be even-minded, but they really love that they understand what’s going on. Spread the to-dos throughout the day making sure that there is always something for the kids to look for. A short twenty minutes break with the activity they love the most will encourage them to focus on the current task.
3. Set Up a Designated Place For Learning
In some smaller homes, it might be challenging, but try to set up a designated working place for the kid(s). Preferably a place where your child can focus and does not get distracted by anything. This designated space can be in the living room or at the dining table, the important thing is not to do any other activity around there at least during the learning interval. Designating an area of learning not only in time but also in physical space, helps the kids concentrate on their classes while sitting still.
4. Make Your Child Be The Teacher
A great way to check understanding and progress is by changing the „classroom” dynamic. Once you have covered a topic, swap over the teacher role and get the children to explain to you what they learned. It is a very good opportunity to teach children how to summarize their thoughts and to understand if there is something that is not entirely clear to them about the topic
Do not forget to reward your children’s effort with compliments, little surprises, their favorite food or even small gifts. It is essential to make them sure that we recognize their work, and what they do is important in order to keep them motivated in this special situation. If they fail to complete an exercise or unable to concentrate on a task, be patient with them. Take a short break, let them do something fun, then let’s start it over.
6. Hire a Tutor
Don’t feel ashamed asking for help, no one expects you to be an expert in everything. If there is a topic or subject that you can do less to help your child then hire an online tutor once or twice a week. The tutor can help your kids with homework or get some extra confidence in a certain subject. It is also understandable if you ask for help because you need to recharge or do your own work.
7. Stay Connected
Stay connected with the parents of your kids’ classmates and your friends who happened to get in the same situation. We are social beings and the current regulations on distancing might make you feel anxious and lonely. But you are not alone! Allocate time to regularly speak to other parents, share your experiences, ask, suggest, listen and exchange ideas. Just to know that we are not the only ones struggling with a particular problem can be a great relief.
8. Stay Active
Make sure that both you and your children spend time exercising every single day. Working out is important to relieve stress, to maintain our physical and mental balance and of course to have some fun. The best would be to spend at least an hour in the yard or in the garden. If you don’t have access to an outdoor space, just open the windows and turn your computer on. Fortunately, there are hundreds of different exercises available online designed for indoor activities, both for kids and adults.
9. Snack Smart
This is definitely not the best time to start a new trendy diet with your family. But due to the reduction of our daily exercise and because of the importance of keeping our immune system strong, it is crucial to pay attention to what you put on the kid’s plates. It’s impossible to control everything, – and don’t forget, you are not expected to be perfect – but at least try to make sure you give a few portions of nutritious snacks to them. Preparing a simple healthy sweet (or salty) oatcake can even be a fun „after-school” family program.
10. Do Chores Together
Have your kids do chores and help you out in the house. Under normal circumstances, it would probably be difficult to get their help, but these days you can turn it to an interesting activity after a full day of homeschool. Make it fun for them! For example, they could be soldiers on a secret mission. Draw the floor plan of the apartment and assign an area for everyone, including adults. Change the roles often so they do not get bored with it and don’t forget to reward the best little soldier!
11. Time For Play
Even the most serious subjects like math, chemistry or physics can be explained and practiced in a playful way. If you notice that your child is having a hard day, struggling in concentrating, or is overwhelmed with the lessons, you have two choices: either you build in a little more playtime for the day with highly energetic activities, or, get access to one of those great online platforms where she or he can learn by playing.
The kids have to spend the majority of their classroom-time online. In addition, they spend hours on social media sites, chatting around with friends, and watching TV. What we see that they spend their entire day online, in front of the different electric devices. To maintain their mental and social health, it is important to keep them active and creative during the time what they would normally spend offline, outside the house. Depending on their age and interest, it could be drawing, puppet show, writing, painting, dancing, cooking, singing, music writing, yoga, board games, etc.
13. Me Time
As we ended up spending most of the day with our family, the importance of me-time increased significantly. Reading, taking a relaxing bath, calling some friends, listening to our favorite song, or just doing nothing and releasing can be a lifesaver – even for our loved ones. Schedule at least a 30-min ”me time” on a daily basis for both yourself and your kids. This half an hour a day can help you to recharge and stay patient during these challenging weeks. Kids can use this time for anything they like, to let them unwind and relax.
14. Summarize And Plan Together
At the end of the week, sit down together to discuss and summarize what happened in the previous days. Everyone should share (the youngest ones might draw) their feelings and thoughts about what were the positive and negative things of the past days, what are the things that they would like to change and what frustrates them. Be understanding and patient and try to find a solution for everyone. Based on what you have discussed, make a plan for the next week and try to stick to it.
15. Be Forgiving And Flexible
This is an extremely stressful time. Everyone is trying to adjust to this new, unexpected situation. Lots of change and insecurity put us all under serious stress. Please be flexible and forgiving with yourself and with the kids, too. We all have bad days when nothing goes as planned – especially when the kids are around. It’s absolutely fine not to have a perfectly clean house with very well-behaved kids in it. Do not compare your life to the fake reality that you see on social media. Do not feel bad because your family is not like what people say it is supposed to be.
Hang in there, you are doing a great job!