• Nicki M. Dakis

Schools Out, Now What? Making the Most of your Child’s Time in Quarantine

Life may feel a bit tense as our routines are upended, but here are ways to help your kids make the best use of their time while they’re home from school.

First, you’ll want to immediately establish a daily routine that includes time for academic work, outdoors/exercise, chores, and relaxation.

While a computer may be necessary and even advantageous for your child’s academic work, fast moving screens have taken a toll on their ability to focus. This forced time at home can be a good opportunity to practice detaching from “screen time” and social media, while increasing time to do things that take more focused attention.

For teens, try to encourage reading (i.e. books, magazines) as much as possible. Board games, playing cards, cooking, puzzles, and artwork are all preferable to watching screens. Try to limit television viewing to quality, educational movies (i.e. “NOVA”, “JFK”, “Planet Earth”, “Selma” …) or documentaries (i.e. “He Named Me Malala”, “The Cove”, “Hoop Dreams”). Youtube also has some quality shows such as BBC’s “Shakespeare’s Animated Tales”and “Ted Talks”.

For younger grades, a controlled amount of computer time (one hour per day) can be beneficial if used properly- for example there are several good educational computer programs on-line (i.e. “KidsEdu” on Youtube). Opt for a limited amount of quality television (“Disneynature”, “Bill Nye” shows) and shut the t.v. off when the show is over. Brainquest offers great workbooks for most grade levels (Amazon). Additionally, level appropriate baking, science experiments (including seed-planting), drawing, painting, or puzzles, are all fun ways to spend time with added benefits of learning and improving focus. And of course, READ READ READ!

The stress of this recent pandemic, combined with non stop access to news, is negatively affecting adults and kids alike. Spending time outdoors, especially doing something physical, is important for good mental health. In bad weather, urge indoor exercise. Speak to your children about what’s happening but try to be optimistic and reassuring. Suggest that they keep a daily diary to both relieve anxiety and have a record to look back upon. Lastly, everyone should try to be selective with what they watch or read- avoiding anything that makes them anxious.

These are just a few basic measures that will help your children and family during this time. Stay tuned for more articles and suggestions to help your kids be better learners!

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