Now that the state has closed schools for in-person learning for the remainder of the year, kids across Michigan have traded school bus rides and pop quizzes for videos and online lessons at the kitchen table. If you’re looking for ways to handle having your kids at home all day, here are a few things you can do to keep them learning without breaking the bank or your patience.
- Make a schedule. At school, kids have a regular schedule of subjects that helps them know what to expect. Learning at home doesn’t offer the same kind of predictability. Creating a block of time for your kids to do learning activities while they’re home gives everyone structure to the day and re-establishes a routine, according to the Child Mind Institute. Scheduling learning activities also allows parents working from home to block out time on their calendars to fit in meetings or conference calls. Creating a schedule also allows you plan out when to recharge computers or tablets, do laundry or other activities that can increase energy use.
- Make it fun. Students may have online assignments now, but that doesn’t mean learning has to only be typing away at lessons on a computer or tablet. If weather permits, head out into the back yard for a game of catch or kicking a soccer ball to get some exercise. For free activities to enrich learning, you can also follow along with science experiments from the Michigan Science Center or learn about animals with the Detroit Zoo. Getting kids outside also allows you to shut off televisions and other devices, cutting your energy usage.
- Crack a book. While online resources make it easier to access information, don’t forget about books. Reading to or with kids has been shown to decrease hyperactivity and attention difficulties and helps them learn to describe and control challenging feelings like anger and sadness, according to PBS. Books also don’t use batteries or need to be charged, meaning sitting by a window reading is a great way to keep kids engaged without increasing energy usage.
- Get active. Whether it’s a YouTube family workout, going for a walk while maintaining social distancing or playing in the back yard, burning off some energy and getting exercise is a great way for kids to reduce stress and sleep better. Sending the kids out to play in the back yard can also give parents a break.
Adapting to the new normal of working and learning at home is a process. As we all adjust, try to stay calm, be understanding and be willing to adjust.