As millions of children are displaced from their schools due to the coronavirus, a sub-crisis has come into the equation for parents: how will we keep the kids occupied? It’s one thing to entertain them on weekends, but it’s another when you have seven days a week to fill for an indefinite period of time.
Here are a few steps you can take to keep the kids busy and learning, while allowing you to get other things done:
Start with the school routine
Use school as a framework and honor what had previously been the routine. When are they used to having meals? When’s recess? Break the day into small chunks, much like school does with subjects.
Dedicate time for play
Carving out time for dedicated child-led play is huge for kids. In your new daily schedule, have a few 15-30 minute blocks of play.
Weed out the unused and broken toys and limit adult involvement- play is the child’s job, not the adult’s. Accept some play invitations, but don’t feel guilty about skipping others.
Schedule in easy indoor activities
While you can put out toys for unstructured free play, kids get excited when their parents facilitate some of the fun. Consider setting up easy indoor activities as a lifeline, a way to practice school skills, and a way to quietly entertain the kids.
Build in reading
The importance of reading to your children can’t be overstated. Put in 15-20 minute reading blocks, and structure them in a few different ways: parent reads aloud, child reads aloud, and family silent reading time.
Make a screen time routine
If you choose to have screens available to your kids, use them wisely. Make the screen time predictable, and follow through when the scheduled time for screens is over.