A lot of parents in the country have received some unexpected news over the last couple of weeks. Schools across the nation are being shut down for around two to eight weeks, if not longer, which might make some parents a little nervous about what they’re going to do with their kids for such a long break. These breaks are designed to help with social distancing in an effort to combat the recent strain of coronavirus that can be deadly for those with compromised immune systems and the elderly. Some parents might want to throw money at the break in order to keep kids entertained, but there are many cheap ways to keep kids engaged and entertained while they are away from school for the next few weeks.
1. Ask About Telecommuting
Depending on your school district, you might find that your school already has telecommuting measures in place for students. However, they might not be up and running yet, so you might call your school to see if there is any way you can join the program if it is voluntary. This allows students to attend class from home, so they won’t miss a beat with the school. If this isn’t an option for your school, there are lots of telecommuting websites available You can easily enroll in these programs and many local based programs are actually free. This might be one of the best ways to help your students finish out the school year. There are programs you have to pay for too, so be careful when planning for your child. This might help prevent your child from getting behind or getting stuck in summer school. If not, then at least your child won’t forget what they have learned while they are on break and might even find themselves ahead of the curve.
If you’re worried about the closures in your area lasting, then there are so many homeschool options available to work with. You can unenroll your child and do this for the rest of the school year to prevent delay or you can simply use homeschool tools to help keep your child’s mind active during the closures. There are so many curriculums online to choose from and many websites offer information to help you create your own for next to nothing in price. You can also find worksheets, lesson plans, and more for free online. You can even pick up right where your student left off, especially if you have the teacher’s syllabi in hand. This can help your child finish out the year, improve their grades, and maybe even allow them to test into higher-level classes in the upcoming year. No matter why you choose to do it, homeschool takes dedication but can be a great learning experience for all.
3. Online Games
One of the hardest elements of the school closures for kids is going to be the lack of socialization with their peers. It is important to help kids connect with their friends even though playdates aren’t really advised. One of the best things to help with this is online games. Don’t be afraid to let your kids hop on their favorite game console to interact with friends. Video games aren’t bad for children in moderation and they will help keep relationships going strong. You can even help kids keep in touch with their friends via chats that will allow them to play games together. This should help ease some of the separation issues while helping to keep social skills going strong. Playing online games can even help kids learn teamwork, which is always a good skill to have.
4. Make a Schedule
Children thrive on schedules, so if you want to keep chaos to a minimum then you might want to consider making up a schedule for the time spent away from school. It might help to stick with the routine your kids have to follow with the school. Most teachers give out their schedules, so try to base yours on that if you want to keep things simple. If not, you might plan around the household’s natural flow. The schedules should include playtimes, socialization times, meals, homework or education periods, and so on. It is important to stick with the schedule during this time with only a few splurges to keep life a little spontaneous, so life doesn’t get stale under quarantine.
5. Go Outside
Self-isolating does not mean that you have to stay cooped up inside the house for the next couple of weeks. Instead, make it a point to get some outside time every day if the weather allows. Your best option is to spend some time in your own backyard where you won’t bump into other people. However, if you don’t have a backyard then you might consider going to an area that you know won’t have a lot of people, like a trail, a large park, or even the lake or beach. If there are people, keep your distance. The sunshine and fresh air will do you a lot of good and might even help to keep you healthy during the quarantine. Of course, if you do have symptoms of any illness, you should stay in just in case.
6. Utilize the Internet
These days, kids can get a lot from the internet, but it is important to make sure you point them in the right direction. The internet is a wonderful place for learning though, so setting up online activities can be crucial during this time. For older kids, you might look at free university courses. Try to choose subjects that the students are interested in. This will help them engage their mind without feeling pressure to perform at a higher level, while also giving them an idea of what university life might be like. There are also online classes for just about every grade level too. You might utilize educational programs like Scholastics or ABCMouse. In fact, many of these programs are offering free use during this time. Apart from educational activities, you can add culture to your child’s life with virtual tours of museums and the world’s greatest wonders. There are many crafts and games to utilize as well, which should help appease everyone.
7. Go Over Hygiene Lessons
While you’re home, it is the perfect time to talk with your kids about hygiene. We live in a changing world, so there are new ways that kids will need to learn to cope with these problems. Most of us know how to wash our hands, but going over the procedure frequently, especially with younger children, is important. Make sure kids realize just how important hand washing is. One of the major problems we need to work on is facial touching. It’s a habit that can be broken with training, but the training needs to start now. Apart from that, you should go over things like tapping elbows instead of high fives, fist bumps, and shaking hands. Opening doors with one’s feet instead of hands is also great. Another thing to consider is proper cleaning routines. You should go over surfaces used often and use proper products. You might even have a toy cleaning party to help kids understand how important it is to keep things clean, even if germs can’t be seen.
8. Indoor Exercises
When stuck at home, it is very easy to fall into the routine of sitting on the couch. However, you should concentrate on your health during this crucial period of time. There are many fun activities you can do at home to help you keep fit and boost your immune system while the self-isolation period is happening. One such activity is yoga, which is great for people of all ages. You can even find free yoga classes online to suit all ages, which will help make the experience fun for you. Apart from yoga, there are more cardio-based activities. Simply check out workout websites or your favorite streaming services to find information on martial arts, aerobics, and exercises like cross-fit. There are many great relay race ideas to check out, which will ensure kids have a lot of fun while burning off some energy when trapped indoors.
9. Explore Recipes
Let’s face it, food shortages have become a huge worry in the country because so many people are panic buying. So, you might have to get pretty crafty with your meals at certain points in time. This can be a great lesson for kids though, as learning to maintain a budget and make food stretch is a great life lesson. You might start by sharing some of your family’s recipes if you have the right ingredients to do so. If not, then there are a lot of websites that can give you recipes based on the items you have in the home. You might also give kids the chance to explore with their recipes. It helps to work with kids to help them learn how to pair food together, but if they are older and have some cooking knowledge then allowing them to experiment might be good for them. They may even make a masterpiece that the family will want to eat even when you’re not trying to make your groceries last.
10. Follow the Science
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus, but that makes it a great lesson for students. Following the progress that scientists are making will help children truly understand how much work goes into fighting off hazards. There is a lot to learn about the virus itself including how viruses mutate, what causes them, and so on. You can also talk about the process of making vaccination and what has to be studied before it is given to the general public. This can help children gain a better understand of the reason everyone is being asked to self-isolate, which can help ease some of the uncertainty they feel.
School closures might seem exciting for kids at first, but as time passes you’ll find that there are many hurdles that you’ll have to work through. These ten ideas will help keep your child’s mind active while also helping to keep life as normal as possible when life isn’t exactly normal. With any luck, some of these tips will help you find your groove, which will make everyone feel more at home during this period of self-isolation.