From homeschooling and virtual learning to finding things to do and pass the time, the COVID-19 crisis can be especially difficult for children. What can parents do to make this challenging time easier and more manageable?
Jennifer Lopez is author of the book ‘Chief Executive Mom,’ has home-schooled four of her kids and is the founder of Assistant Pro, a concierge staffing agency that specializes in assisting families with every day, repetitive tasks.
Jennifer’s advice to keep things moving as smoothly as possible and help your kids adjust in this crazy COVID-19 world:
Focus on block scheduling: Rather than saying, “Do it now” or “We’ll get to it later,” create a block of time when a list of tasks must be completed, including schoolwork. In fact, to add consistency and make it easier on your kids, block off the same time each day where various tasks must get done, things like schoolwork, cleaning their rooms or going through old clothes.
Your house may get out of control… and that’s OKAY!! Accept that your home will be lived in during the day and things will become messy and chaotic. Demanding perfection will only drive you insane. Remember, this is temporary. If you find that the house is getting way out of order, stop everything and play a game together. If your kids are playing a board game with you, that means they aren’t dismantling the toy chest.
Be prepared and prep your food: Like clockwork, the kids will be scouring the refrigerator and pantry. Brain work is exhausting and works up an appetite. Include a “snack time” into your block scheduling, but also prepare portioned, healthy, protein rich snacks in advance for easy self-serving, and bellies that will be full, longer. Based on the age of your child, you can include them in the preparation of food. Remember to keep it fun to hold their interest.
Practice consistent practice: The current status of national education is temporary. When all else fails, have your kids practice what they already know for 20 minutes a day. Avoid regression and keep them sharp. Teachers will be fully prepared to teach new lessons when they are back to regular communication. What would be detrimental is if children regress.
Join a local/national online home-school group: If you’ve never home-schooled before, it can be a time full of questions for parents and children. Joining a supportive community is a great resource, especially when you are jumping right in. They are a supportive online bunch and will be a good shoulder to cry on after the difficult days ahead.
Know when to back off with online learning: Teachers don’t hover over kids and neither should parents. It’s counterproductive to your child’s resilience. That much micro-management will decrease their motivation to continue learning. It’s a lot of pressure to have someone looking over your shoulder at your every move. It’s okay to be supportive, but know when to back off.
Set expectations and listen to each other: We are used to having some sense of control in the home, but kids are also used to having some sense of control over their daily interactions and how they behave in public. They may push back since they are losing that control. Listen to them when they say they have a process. It will keep your house more peaceful and your relationship in-tact rather than creating a frustrated rebel. We all have to work together in these trying times.
Don’t forget time for fun: These are tough times for everyone, and we can’t forget about fun. Allow your kids to spend a little time engaging with electronics. Encourage them to Facetime and text with their friends to lift their spirits and keep up social relationships. And of course, have fun as a family playing a game, going for a bike ride or any other activity you can all do together.
Jennifer Lopez has home-schooled 4 of her children. She is the founder of Assistant Pro and author of the book ‘Chief Executive Mom.’ Learn more by visiting her website yourassistantpro.com