Release the Stress
Because stress is not good for learning – or living. Your kids may be as stressed as you are about life in the pandemic, so start with ways to lower the stress.
This document from the Alberta government looks at frequently asked questions that kids have asked. It will provide you with some ideas about talking to your kids about COVID-19. You can download it here. COVID-19 Information for Kids (PDF)
Instead of talking about isolation, think of this as ‘cocooning.’ We have a unique chance to spend time with our families, an opportunity for parents to model the critical life skills we want our kids to know: patience, compassion, flexibility, and creativity.
Set the Scene for Daily Work and School
Because most of us do best with a routine, set up a general work and school schedule to follow Monday to Friday that includes kids’ school assignments and parents’ work from home can keep everyone on track.
9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon – Work and school
12:00 Noon to 1:00 PM – Lunch
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM – Work and school
Times within the schedule can be changed to be flexible. Based on online work and school meetings, kids and their parents will have to share digital resources. Parents may be able to flex their time before kids are awake and after bedtime. This will provide time to support schoolwork during the day.
- Design your schedule around the developmental needs of your kids.
- For children age seven and under, blocks of supervised learning of 30 minutes at a time are recommended.
- For most older students, 45-minute blocks with 15-minute breaks for stretching and refocusing are ideal.
- Elementary children will need supervision and encouragement; junior and senior high students may be able to work with less supervision and support.
- 45-minute blocks usually work best for adults, too. But whether we can do it depends on our boss’s expectations!
A morning schedule could look like this, depending on the age and needs of your kids. Use different colours for younger and older children.
9:00 AM to 9:30 AM – School assignments OR 9:00 AM to 9:45 AM – School assignments
15-minute movement breaks – walk around the block, feed the fish, teach the dog a trick, fold the laundry.
9:45 AM to 10:15 AM – Assignments or skill development. (For younger kids)
10:15 AM to 11:00 AM – Assignments or skill development. (For older kids)
15-minute movement breaks.
11:00 AM to 11:30 AM – Assignments or skills development. (For younger kids)
11:15 AM to 12:00 – Assignments or skills development. (For older kids)
- Build lots of movement activities into the schedule. Kids are used to recess and daily phys ed. Of course, movement is good for adults, too!
- Post the schedule where everyone can see it.
- Be flexible and adapt the schedule to your family’s needs.
- Be sure that TV and digital games are turned off during the work or school day!
Have Fun Together
Use games as learning activities that add fun and develop skills during the school day. For instance, word recognition and decoding – Bananagrams, Scrabble, Quiddler, Snap-It-Up.
Sound and letter recognition – Family Literacy Activities for Parents and Children Ages 5-7 by Nada Jerkovic can be downloaded here. (PDF)
Calgary Public Library – Digital Resources – Tumble Books and other great resources are available on the Library website.