What To Do When School Is Out

photo-1476703993599-0035a21b17a9Dear Parents,

What a strange new world we are living in! This is a tough time for all of us. There’s the worry about Coronavirus, the questions about how to stay safe, and the reality of school and office closures amongst so many other things.

How do we adapt to these new and ever changing circumstances?

How do we manage the anxiety and the terror within ourselves and within our loved ones – especially our children?

No one likes change, and the changes in our lives right now are just enormous.

We’d like to suggest some ideas for dealing with suddenly having children home from school for those of you who have experienced school closures.

And going forward we’ll be posting about other aspects of life as we try to manage during this Coronavirus epidemic.

Below you will find some resources and ideas for what to do during the time that your children are not able to attend school.

No one way of dealing with this unprecedented situation will work for every family – we must all experiment and see what works for us and for each of our children – but perhaps some of these ideas will be helpful right now.  We’ll post new suggestions regularly during the next few months.

  • As you have undoubtedly heard, it’s best to stay at home and to forgo play dates or teen hangouts. This will be hard for your children AND for you! Your children will complain.  They will be angry. TRY not to take this personally.  Try to remember that when you set these limits you are doing the BEST thing for your child – whether they agree or not.

  • Everyone needs a break from each other now and then.  Everyone needs to be with friends– and in this situation, creativity and patience will be needed to figure out how to meet everyone’s social needs without having direct contact and, quite frankly, just how to stay sane at home!
  • Create a schedule. Some children and some adults can handle long stretches of unstructured time, but most cannot. Write on a big piece of paper or poster board what each person’s schedule will be and post in their room. Schedule meal times, snack times, school work times, rest/alone times, exercise times, clean up the house time, reading/story time, computer time, and online friend time.

  • Everyone in the house will need special social time. You as parents need time to meet with friends online (have coffee or a drink together!), so schedule a chat though FaceTime or Zoom at least once a day.

  • Each child in the house should also have online time to meet with friends,  Even small children can do online hangouts with their friends. Children ages 3-6 will need parental supervision in order to stay focussed on talking with their friends, of course.  They can also draw and show each other their drawings and other creations.  You can talk to their parents while this going on as well.

  • Also, schedule daily online chats with family, especially older family members. This will be fun for your children AND good for your older relatives. Have your young children make a drawing or Lego creation or whatever they like to show when they chat with others.

  • Make sure everyone pitches in to keep the house clean and organized. Make it fun.  Put on the music for a half hour of clean up time once or twice a day and clean all common areas and dance, sing, etc.  Or for your teen, let them wear their head phones and listen to whatever they want while they work.

  • Start a few projects and make time each day to engage in them.  Each child can have a special project they do with a parent and/or there can be a family project. For example:

    – Order seeds and start a garden. Even if you don’t have a yard, you can grow some flowers or herbs or veggies in pots.  Or if you have a yard, dig up part of it and do a little each day to get it ready, plant the seeds, water them, and watch it grow.

    – You will think this is crazy – but – consider getting a new pet.  You and your children have time to take care of it, train it, etc. now that you are home. One family profiled on NPR got chickens after school was cancelled for Covid 19 and have been enjoying taking care of them, gathering the eggs, and making things with the fresh eggs.

    – Learn something new! Each member of the family can choose their own new thing and practice it each day – a new language, a new instrument, a new art form.

    – Cook with the kids.  Each day can be a new cooking project. Make bread if your grocery still has yeast (mine does not – I think a LOT of people are baking!) or make muffins, cupcakes, cookies, brownies – or just make lunch or dinner, for that matter. Kids usually like to cook and can start helping as early as 3 or 4.

  • See below and take advantage of these online possibilities. Every parent will need a few hours a day to themselves during this time – in ADDITION to any work being done from home. Take time to read something other than the news, do an online exercise or yoga class, learn to meditate or just watch a show.  NO guilt!

 

https://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/news/virtual-storytimes-for-kids-authors-and-venues-go-online-amid-coronavirus-031620

 

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/a31702630/kids-educational-activities-videos-online-coronavirus/

 

https://www.koaa.com/news/coronavirus/free-online-learning-tools-to-use-for-kids-during-covid-19-closures

https://kmox.radio.com/articles/online-kids-activities-for-parents-during-covid-19-pandemic

Live Free Concert of Sephardic Music:

Good luck!

Dr. Corinne Masur

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