As schools continue to close across the United States to help slow the spread of COVID-19, here’s how you can keep the learning going for your little ones.
By Dr. Allison Schuessler, pediatrician
Teachers across the country are working to launch online learning for their students as the list of school closures grows. As our school systems work through this new normal — and in addition to online class offerings — parents are finding they need to work with their children to keep their education going.
Whether you’re a seasoned homeschooling parent or this is your first time teaching your kids at home, there are some easy activities you can implement to help keep them learning and cut back on TV time.
Talk to your kids about COVD-19
Part of educating your children during this time is arming them with knowledge about the pandemic. Talk with your kids about what’s going on in the world and what they can do to stay healthy.
Remind them that by properly washing their hands, not touching their face (including their eyes, nose and mouth), and covering their mouth when they cough or sneeze, they can help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Read more about talking to your kids about COVID-19.
Experiments that feel like play time
Remember the feeling of making your very first volcano for a school project? You can share in that same feeling of joy and surprise with your child right at home! Take this opportunity to show them some of your favorite hands-on projects from when you were their age.
Don’t remember exactly how to do them? No worries! A quick internet or YouTube search will bring up plenty of how-tos for you to follow.
Some great activities to do at home with your kids include:
- Cooking and baking
- Painting and mixing colors
- Reading time
- Making slime (and edible slime)
- Soda geyser
Whether the activity teaches your child something new in science or a life skill that ignites a passion, say in baking, for instance, you can have fun and help your child learn something new while they’re cooped up indoors.
Games that keep them active
While your kiddos might love using all their time to play videogames with their friends, you can use this excitement to get them up and moving.
Encourage them to play games that involve getting up and moving around or using their math or spelling skills. Board games are also a way for kids to use critical thinking skills while giving their eyes a break from the screen, too.
You can even encourage your children to join you in a new, at-home workout routine if you’ve started one. You can have them join in on your warmup, then do some jumping jacks with them before finishing your workout.
Make time for downtime
While you want to make sure your child is continuing to learn during these times, it’s important to allow them time to relax, too. Make time for self-care and do activities for yourself while your children are reading or taking classes online.
While your child’s education is important, you’re likely juggling a million other things on the side — whether that’s working from home, making meals for your family each day or still going to work. Taking time for yourself is just as important, now more than ever.