The weeks ahead are more than a bit daunting since everything seems out of our control.
I’m going to offer an opinion here that might be a bit unpopular after seeing a lot of what’s popping up on my news feed and stories… We all know that kids thrive when they understand expectations and have routine. We also know that the next two weeks (and if we’re honest, beyond that) are brand new territory…
Schedules are great — but grant yourself and your kids some grace. You don’t need to recreate a rigid eight-hour school schedule at home for your preschooler or elementary school student. It is a recipe for failure, stress, and angst — especially if you or your spouse (or both of you!) need to work at the same time.
I’ve worked at home, with my kids, for a decade. Some days are better than others. Every day has space for learning (and your kids’ teachers sent home packets for that), reading, creating, on-your-own time (while I’m in a meeting), play, outside time, and straightening up/helping. I’ve often had a person helping me part-time with the kids while keeping the balls in the air. Some days have more screen time than I’d like because I needed to get a project done. But I have never once been able to maintain a 9 AM – 10 AM math time, 10 AM – 11 AM art time, 11 AM – 11:15 AM Snack, 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM Outside Time…. (you get the idea)… while working at home with kids. The key has always been being able to pivot. Looking at the day and figuring out when we can do what. Flexibility within routine is key.
I’m not saying don’t have structure. Two weeks of screen time free-for-all is just as much a recipe for chaos. Just realize that your day may twist and turn and, in my experience, it’s better to be ok with that.
It’s a hard thing to do. Especially when your color-coded fridge calendar of school events, soccer practices, dance class, music lessons, and play dates is suddenly… EMPTY. We’re hardwired to schedule and to be logistic ninjas.
Your kids, especially your young ones, may not remember what the Coronavirus was. But they will remember how they FELT during this time. Anxious, stressed, overwrought parents who are trying to be superhuman and take on the role of full-time teacher while maintaining their work responsibilities and home responsibilities — THAT is going to have a far more negative impact than whether or not you spent an hour on science every day. You don’t have to be all the things.
And — silver lining, if there is one — your kids can experience language arts and math in different ways while they’re home. Learn a new card game (cribbage helps with math). Find a new podcast or MAKE a new podcast. Create a stop motion animation video. Have a child stuck on fractions? Work with them to double a recipe and then freeze half. Math + quarantine prep = winning combo! Go on a bug hunt in the backyard or on a neighboring trail. Have your kids keep a journal. Puddle jump. Jump rope. Extra double bonus points if you can jump rope while ON your conference call.
We’re working on giving you daily ideas (and helping our local business partners out) through (cool) progeny. It’s amazing to see how our partners have flexed. Businesses have to in order to survive. Flexibility is what everyone needs right now. And that’s exactly the life-long skill our kids need to take with them when we get beyond #Corona2020. Quadratic equations are secondary (and don’t worry, they will come). I promise.
Most importantly, stay well. At home.