Create A Set Routine
Establishing a steady routine for children can have a huge impact on their mood, schoolwork, and overall happiness. Whether they’re going to school in person or learning virtually, it’s important to regulate their “body clocks” by planning wake-ups, nap times, healthy meals, relaxed “down times,” and sleep at the same times each day and night.
Proper rest and a normalized schedule will make the transition back to school smoother for both your child and you. As their parent, it will also give you the opportunity to establish clear expectations, rather than experiencing a power struggle to wake them up in the morning or to do homework after school.
Schedule Plenty Of Time To Play Outside
By now, we all know the feeling of being cooped up for long periods of time. According to Marie Conti, a member of the American Montessori Society’s board of directors, “Freedom to move, run, and play, especially outdoors, has a tremendous impact on children’s abilities to focus and control themselves throughout the day. Recess time gives more opportunity for socialization, teamwork and practice with conflict-resolution skills.”
Whether you have the ability to let your child run around and play outside or not, it’s important to create an atmosphere that alleviates stress. Need some ideas for fun activities? Click here to check out a list of 75 outdoor games that everyone will enjoy.
Communicate, Educate, Reinforce
Whether your child is starting school virtually or is going back to a classroom, it’s important to educate them on behaviors they can use to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Prepare them for the “new normal” by practicing hand-washing (for at least twenty seconds), wearing a mask properly, social distancing, coughing into their elbow, and other hygiene measures they should put into practice.
P.S. - The best way to teach them is to lead by example. :)
Set Them Up For Success
It may be difficult for students to fully focus on their schoolwork during this stressful time. If your child will be working from home for all or a portion of their school year, providing them with a more familiar environment can make a big difference.
If you can, set up a desk with school supplies and educational posters in a quiet area of your house or apartment. Stay in touch with their teacher to stay informed of any activities or easy experiments you can perform at home that will supplement their homework. Most importantly, communicate with your child regularly to see if there is anything you can do to help them concentrate and learn.
Encourage Safe Social Interaction
Digital platforms provide an opportunity for children to learn, keep in contact with distant family members, and even play with their friends remotely. However, increased online access online can also heighten risks associated with children’s safety and privacy. It’s more important than ever to speak with your children about the internet so that they know how it works, what dangers they need to be aware of, and what appropriate behavior looks like on video calls, social media, and online games.
Establish clear rules and boundaries together about how, when, and where the internet can be accessed. The use of parental controls on their devices can help mitigate risks, especially for younger children. In a case of cyberbullying or an incident of inappropriate content online, be familiar with school and other local reporting mechanisms, keeping numbers of support helplines and hotlines nearby.
During this difficult time, your child may have different reactions to stress, so be patient and understanding. Try not to minimize or avoid their concerns. Be sure to acknowledge their feelings and assure them that it’s completely natural to feel unsure or even scared.