As the corona virus becomes an increasingly more serious problem in our country, the South African government has shut down all schools and is encouraging its citizens to practice social distancing at home.
While the kids might be excited about the extended holiday, parents might understandably be struggling to entertain and educate them in a productive way. If you're finding yourself in this position, we hope the following tips will prove helpful.
Stick to a structured schedule.
Research shows that children are more likely to thrive with predictable, consistent routines at home, as it creates a source of stability.
Recreating a structure similar to a normal school day at home can ease the transition to a different learning environment for the foreseeable future. Use the same “periods”, which will designate set times for different activities and provide both structure and variety to each day.
Try finding different quiet places they can work throughout the day; perhaps morning study time is at the kitchen table, but midday reading is on the front stoop and afternoon study time is in the living room.
Every day should include outdoor time, to burn off your kid’s extra energy and as an extension of whatever educational lesson is suitable for your yard or a nearby park.
This can translate to an at-home version of break time, filled with activities such as walking the dog, going for a bike ride or playing sports. But it can also be a way to bring the school day outdoors. For example, when you switch up where your child studies, designate a “period” for an outside lesson.
Limit screen time.
Screens used wisely can be a helpful parenting tool. To prevent your kids from "over-indulging" in screen-time, give them a set time in which to expect it. Follow through when the scheduled time is over and try to avoid using technology excessively outside the set time yourself, to set a good example for your kids.
The way in which technology is used is also relevant. Research suggests that the quality of the interaction makes a difference. Using technology to create, rather than to passively consume, can encourage creativity and problem solving, but a balanced mix of tech and non-tech activities is best.
Let them socialize.
While we aren't supposed to see others in person, humans are social beings and your kids will benefit from staying in contact with their friends. Set up virtual play dates by letting your kids have Skype, FaceTime or Whatsapp calls with their friends. Social media and online games such as shared Minecraft servers, which allows kids to only play with people they know, can also be good options, but should be used during set times and in moderation.
Let the kids be part of the decision-making.
Who says learning can't be fun? This is the perfect opportunity to allow your kids to be creative and decide what and how they'd like to learn. Have your kids make a list of things they'd like to do, or encourage them to research fun, interactive educational activities that align with their interests.
Turn the kitchen into a lab and have your kid explore the science behind cooking. Make history personal by asking them to interview family members and investigate the details of their family story. Ask your child to research a particular art period and make their own version of what they've seen using whatever supplies you have on hand, including junk mail or old magazines. Find and research different species of plants and insects outside to learn biology in a hands-on way.
Remember to be patient with your kids and allow for the fact that they might also be holding a lot of tension due to all these sudden changes. Keep in mind that kids will react differently to a parent as a 'teacher,' and they might push back in ways they usually don't.
Winged Tutoring is offering online tutoring via Skype, with documents being shared over Google Drive. This can help keep kids on track with their work and alleviate stress at home. If this might be a good option for you, contact us for more information.