As the country tries to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the nation's schools are closing in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. School staff are preparing (if not already implementing) remote learning plans and teachers are sending home packets of work to keep children learning during the emergency closure.
Parents- we do not expect you to become educators in a matter of days. We all know that children perform differently in school than at home and the structure of the two environments is different. The hope and intention at this time is to keep students actively engaged in learning and to help them maintain skills gained throughout the school year.
In addition to activities suggested by your schools, here are a few additional things that you can do while your children are home from school:
* Read a book! Read to your children and let them read to you (yup, even the older kids can benefit from reading together.) Reading a book will help to build language skills, literacy skills, comprehension skills, literacy skills - AND it is a bonding experience that everyone can benefit from.
*Play a game! Board games are fun and they also help enhance important skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and social skills. Uno, Candy Land, Go-Fish, Monopoly, Life- you name it and there is an embedded social and educational benefit to playing games. So round up the family and have some old-school fun.
*Cook! I like to do cooking activities in therapy to practice following directions and sequencing skills. We also learn new vocabulary by talking about the ingredients and practice math skills by measuring and counting. The nice part is that when you're finished you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you don't want to make an edible treat, you can make home made play dough, slime, or even make snow from the comfort of your home. You probably have many of the ingredients you need in your kitchen pantry. For more ideas, check out my Pinterest boards at www.pinterest.com/havingoursay
*Limit screen time! Ok this may be harder than usual. Let's be honest, we all need a break sometimes and that break may often come in the form of a device. But parents, let's all try to be more intentional on limiting TV, tablet, and smartphone time during this extended break from school. Adults- this includes us too. Maybe this is the time you need to take a social media break or limit TV time to reduce anxiety and increase face- face interaction with your loved ones.
Lastly, talk to your children. Try to answer questions as best as you can; we are all trying to figure out this unprecedented situation. Follow their lead and actively listen to what they are voicing to you. Talk about ways to practice good hygiene and practice some new songs while washing your hands (like Prince's "Raspberry Beret"!) Remember to wash your hands for 20 seconds, no handshaking, avoid touching your face, and avoid large social gatherings as much as possible.
Wishing you all the best,