What happened to our routine?!
A guide for Spring Break (or other unexpected breaks from school)
With everything happening around us, and most schools and child care centers being closed, now is a great time to think about how all our homes can be conducive to learning. Most of us are aware that children thrive in environments with routine, schedule, boundaries and consistent consequences. Being aware of this and helping keep this a priority in the home during vacation times, or social isolation like now, is another thing. So how do we keep our family, and young children especially, on a routine to ensure an easier transition back to reality? Here are a few tips to encourage and support a routine during this unique situation we currently face:
---- Keep mealtimes and bedtimes as consistent day-to-day as possible (even if they are different than the usual)
---- Provide children opportunities to sit, attend to and complete tasks each day for approximately 5-20 minutes at a time based on their age and development (younger children can complete puzzles, coloring sheets or build with blocks. Older children can complete assignments for school or read books). This mimics a classroom or daycare setting and keeps those skills relevant. Encourage structured tasks multiple times a day and utilize a variety of toys/materials.
---- Read every day with your child. Reading promotes language development while working on a child’s ability to attend, listen, respond and engage with adults.
---- Get outside! Provide children opportunities to be physically active using outdoor equipment and toys. Allow them to run, explore, experiment and play in a safe, outdoor space.
---- Maintain rules and boundaries as you would all other times of the year (yes, this may be challenging!). Remind children of expectations and follow through with consequences when they are not abiding.
Quality time with your children is more beneficial than the quantity of time spent together. Time may be limited and stress may be prominent, but remember to be present during interactions. Be cognizant of the transition back to school or daycare and the often demanding schedule your children may have again. Make it easier for them by replicating some educational vigor in the home. Not only will your child’s teachers be thankful but you will be thanking yourself too!
Most importantly, stay safe everyone! Please contact me for further tips or if you and your family need any kind of assistance at this time.
Naomi Nickson M.Ed