Tips & Ideas for Juggling Work & Children Under One Roof
News about the COVID-19 pandemic has been flooding our inboxes, our social media feeds, and our dinner table conversations for weeks. Then we learn Spring Break has been extended and that our children will be home for three weeks – Wait, WHAT?! Online school?
And just when we think we understand the severity of the virus (and finally remember the correct spelling for coronavirus), now we need to practice social distancing. Oh boy.
But, what IS social distancing? And what exactly are we supposed to do with our children while we are socially distant?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines social distancing as “remaining out of congregate* settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance of approximately 6 feet, or 2 meters, from others when possible. Hence, the closing of schools around the nation.
It’s very likely you working parents have been asked to work from home. So how in the world will you keep your children occupied for three weeks? After I asked myself that question, I thought it would be helpful to provide a few tips and ideas for juggling work and the time at home with your children:
- First of all, tear a page out of a teacher’s trick book, and plan the day. We here at SAA have learned that boys like to know the plan. (Like when your spouse asks you at breakfast, “What’s for dinner?” Yeah, like that).
- In fact, sit down together and make a daily plan. Maybe even ask your son how he spends his school day, and model it after that. Write it down, and hang it where he can see it. Routine and expectations can be helpful especially when things are different, or during uncertain times.
- A few things to keep in mind when planning the schedule:
- Schedule his school assignments to do in the morning while he is alert and rested.
- Give him breaks. The school day isn’t lectures and learning minute to minute. He travels from class to class, plays at recess, and he enjoys classes like art, music and PE.
- P.E.! Build in lots of time for movement. Movement can be a quick walk around the block, shooting hoops, a light saber battle with a sibling, or a Nerf war.
- Build moments in the day to spend time with your kids who are at home. Play a game, do a puzzle, bake, talk to them, and listen to them. Really listen. Our lives are so busy, especially during the school year. Look at this time as a gift.
Of course you need to manage your own work and/or household schedule, so don’t forget that independent play is great for boys of all ages!
Try these suggested activities for kids that they can do on their own, while you cross tasks off of your “To Do List”:
- Paint. From finger paint to acrylics, painting can be a great distraction, and a great way to use his brain!
- Make a fort.
- Sort. Anything – pasta, coins, baseball cards.
- Spell words using letter magnets on a cookie sheet
- Blocks. Don’t have any? Let him build with storage containers.
- Germ Science experiment – there are so many online, especially these days.
- Build a Nerf Target – Shoot!
- FaceTime scavenger hunt with other kids.
- Does he love a sport? Practice skills, study skill development on You Tube, look up and record stats.
- Teach him how to play Solitaire with….wait for it…CARDS!
- Have empty t.p. and paper towel roles left over from your stockpile? What about those Amazon boxes? Build! Create!
- Let him plan a meal, and then help you cook it.
- Ask your friends what their kids are doing.
Also, don’t be afraid to cut yourself some slack. There will be times that they watch a movie, or play a game on the iPad, and that is okay!
*Congregate setting— a setting in which a group of persons reside, meet, or gather either for a limited or extended period of time in close physical proximity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Colglazier; Admissions Assistant; Uniform Store Director; Former SAA Teacher
Jennifer is the mother of a teenage daughter, and a son, who is an Academy 6th grader.