Home is Not School: Quarantine with Kids

Posted by in No-Cry Parenting

Are you quarantined with your children? Worried about schoolwork, but struggling with it? This is a unique and challenging time. Children are suddenly at home during the school year with no specific end in sight. There is a gap in their education, but you are NOT a teacher, and this is NOT homeschooling, and no one is expecting you to finish up the year’s lessons as if class was still in process. This is filling a temporary gap in your child’s formal education during an emotional upheaval. All the kids will get back on track when school resumes.

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In the meantime, while you are quarantined at home with your children, keep these points in mind:

1. Your child’s mental health is most important. Therefore, your own mental health is important. Putting too much pressure on yourself or your child to meet any education goals can backfire into a home filled with stress, anger and uncertainty.

2. There are many ways to learn! Learning does not have to consist of worksheets and tests. Unless your child’s teacher has provided specific assignments or materials, aim for hands-on, real-life learning. Cooking, baking, home repair, balancing a checkbook, cleaning (yes, cleaning!), building things, creating, arts and crafts, and exploring nature. Get outside as much as you can and explore all the wonderful opportunities that nature offers.

3. Now is the time for creating, arts and crafts, music and physical activities. Drag out any supplies you have on hand and be creative – lots of the paper products we put in the trash can be used for crafts, such as egg cartons, toilet paper rolls (have any of those?), spice bottles, etc. Have the kids make a collage, a vision board, jewelry, toys, etc. Get outside as much as possible: Yard games, sports, maybe even have a family Olympics!

4. Read, read, read and read some more. And then read. Order new books and series online that spark your child’s interest – anything age appropriate, but let your child explore new genres. This will be money well spent. Read out loud, read together quietly, add subtitles to movies and television, listen to audiobooks. Just make it happen every day. Every. Day. This is one academic pursuit that you simply cannot ignore.

5. Use good parenting skills. If you don’t have them now – learn them. Skills like using when/then, offering choices, setting up rules, and such can keep everyone calm and your home environment friendly and productive.

6. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep. Be certain that babies and young kids get naps or a quiet time break in the middle of the day. Tired children can be grumpy, short-tempered, whiny and disobedient. Sleep is important.

7. Make family bonding your #1 priority. Loosen the rules. Relax the routines. Spice up the menu. Make this a happy memory in your child’s life. Make this a happy memory in YOUR life. Make this time count for something positive.

Follow your child’s lead. Be aware of what they seem to need each day, and throughout the day, too. Are they moving quickly or slowly? Seeking space or snuggles? One of our greatest assets during this time is the flexibility to give our kids what they’re communicating physically and emotionally. This can make for a much more peaceful home. 

~ Elizabeth Pantley, Author, The No-Cry Solution

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