It seems as if all of us here in the U.S.A. may be in this quarantine for two weeks, if not longer. I see many people posting on Facebook that they are having a tough time with their kids being home. While every situation is different, many parents are faced now with both working from home and having to temporarily homeschool their kids.
Let’s all take a deep breath and think about this. Our kids love us and we love them. Sure, we want what’s best for them, but what’s best for them right now is to have you as emotional support. So, now is a great time to teach them things that they will never learn in school. They can learn how to cook. You can teach them about taxes (for those of you working on that), and budgeting. You can teach them how to garden (it’s a great time to plant their own food). Teach them crochet and knitting, sewing. You can also keep them up to date on academic school if you choose to. We live in the age of the internet. There are numerous, wonderful websites where they can still gather information and even play games to help them learn. I’m not an expert, but here’s what I do when my kids are home.
1. We go outside when we can. Whether it’s to swing on the swing set or just so they can run around. If your kids are older, turn this into homeschool time. Look at the things around you. Do you have a dandelion poking out of a crack in the driveway? Turn that into both a science and a morality lesson. That dandelion doesn’t care that that rock is on top. It’s pushing through the toughness and thriving anyway...now, go research dandelions. Give a report on them, (for whatever is appropriate for that age).
2. It’s ok to let your kids do chores. Both yard work and housework. You may find that the chores are getting easier because you have helping hands.
3. Spend time with them watching t.v., playing video games, playing board games, or simply playing make-believe. Don’t worry about being an adult for a little while.
4. Have activities they can do like drawing, coloring, play-doh, and things like that. You can join in or use this time to get your own work done.
5. Read to them, even if they are older, or have them read to you. You can listen to a story while you cook a family meal.
6. Still ground them if you need to. You can take away the electronics if you need to.
7. When you have work that you absolutely have to do, that’s a great time to let them watch T.V. in another room, play in their room, or get their academic work done. Schedule a “quiet time” for yourself and let them know that’s when you have to work. After a few days, they will settle down when they realize that’s part of the routine.
8. Have a routine. Some kids need a schedule. It helps them feel more secure if they know what to expect. Other kids are fine without one, so get to know your kid and what’s best for them.
9. Chill out. Kids often act out when they notice we are upset or panicking. Enjoy your time with them, but separate yourselves when you need to. They can go to their room and you go to yours. Or wherever you need to go. And remember, they are human too, and they have emotions, but sometimes they have a harder time explaining how they feel or even understanding what they feel. So, above all, just try to be patient. This can either be a huge struggle, or a great blessing. Control what you can by making the most of what you have.
10. Teach by example. In other words, children mimic the behavior that they see in the adults around them. Now is the time to stay level-headed.
Hang in there, parents. We’ve got this. We may find that our children have a thing or two to teach us. May you all stay healthy during this weird time we live in. Best wishes!