For how long? It’s anybody’s guess, so stress is high.
While parents are frantically finding babysitters or childcare centers, teachers are simultaneously re-creating the wheel to digitize all lessons.
As a kindergarten teacher, I worry about the lack of paper/pencil work, hands-on play, socialization, and movement.
That is why my kindergarten team has found ways to incorporate all of those basic components into our new digital world.
If you are a parent of young students, I have generated a short list of ideas to help your child get through this challenge while also maintaining and growing their skills.
1. Find a quiet spot for them to sit, away from distractions. Headphones are preferable. The TV should be off, and all food should be put away.
2. Ask your child to get up, get dressed, and eat breakfast before they sign on for the day. This will motivate them while also reminding them this is still school.
3. During “down times” allow your child to have plenty of play time. Let them run around outside and break out those toys.
4. Allow flexible seating. Perhaps they learn best while sitting on the floor. It makes no difference to me as the teacher!
5. Practice fine motor skills at home. Have them manipulate playdough, use scissors, glue, and color in the lines.
6. Sing and play games. Join in on the number and letter songs while in the car or at home.
7. Don’t push your child to the point of exertion. They will tire out, and pushing them will only cause stress on both of you. You know your child best. When they are done, they are done. Teachers understand burnout better than anyone so my guess would be that your child’s teacher will be understanding if your child has a day where they need a break.
8. Talk to the teacher! If something is going well, tell them! If something is not going well…tell them! Teachers are here to help and want the best for your child.
9. Praise your child when they do well. Children are often praised in school. Now that they are home, they may not be hearing as much praise from the teacher. Continue with a positive attitude. If you are happy, it will shine through your child.
10. Most importantly, be easy on yourself and your child. This is a challenging task. Many teachers have children at home who are also remote learning, making the job nearly impossible. No one is superhuman, and teachers understand. Do the very best you can and let it go.
We know this is hard. It’s incredibly challenging for us too. But you can do hard things. Look at this situation as an opportunity for a teachable moment. Teach your child resilience and perseverance. Teach them that they can do hard things too.