Mar 23, 2020

Top 10 List for Parents: Giving Parents Perspective in Times of COVID-19 A family of four learning together with a book.

If you are like me, you are trying to figure out how to structure your day to work from home. You are trying to find ways to incorporate some learning for your children while also doing your best to keep everyone from going bonkers. There have been an astounding number of resources shared, and you are looking for a place to start. The number one recommendation during these trying times: make some memories!

This Top 10 List for Parents will help you keep some perspective during this bizarre time of balancing at-home learning and working from home.

1. Give yourself grace. We are all trying to survive in this unsettling time. Many parents are still working remotely and are unable to structure a full day of learning for their children. It is not an expectation to replicate seven hours of instruction daily, but to continue the momentum of learning. Give yourself grace and make some family memories.

2. Get involved in the community. Many communities are banding together while still respecting social distancing guidance. Share-out on your social media to get local families to participate in a scavenger hunt. One example is having neighbors put a picture of a basketball in their window and go on a “March Madness” hunt. Put a picture of a rainbow in your window and go on a rainbow hunt! Keep it lighthearted while still having fun.

3. Read. Read to your child (use expression!), read with your child, watch a video of someone else reading, or set aside time for your child to read on their own. Then, have a conversation with your child about the content.
- What did you learn from the book?
- Who was in the story?
- What was the main character’s problem?
- How did they try to solve the problem?
- What are your predictions?
- What would you have changed if you were the author?
- How is it like something else you’ve read before?
Never underestimate the important skill of reading.

4. Do a family challenge. Try out a family TikTok battle, cooking contests, puzzle contests, write a goofy song, have a family basketball shoot-around, coloring contest, or a battle of the best science experiment. You can also have your child design an obstacle course with painter’s tape around the house. These will be memories in the making and something your child will not soon forget.

5. Get moving! Go on a family walk, do some online yoga together, shoot some hoops, play catch, or kick around a soccer ball. Go on a nature walk or bike ride or play iSpy! Research shows that brain breaks increase on-task behavior, so build in some brain breaks during your child’s instructional time and during screen time as well as your at-home working routine. An example might be jogging in place or doing 15 jumping jacks. These breaks increase oxygen to the brain and are needed by children and adults. Exercise is good for the soul and helps keep us sane during this bizarre social-distancing time.

6 - Organize. Use this as an opportunity to do some long overdue spring cleaning with the help of your children. Clean out some closets and donate or hand-down clothes and toys you and your children have outgrown. Wipe out the inside of your refrigerator and cupboards. Have a conversation about expiration dates. Organize that junk drawer and talk about what types of things belong in there. Tidy up the photos on your computer or files on your computer in order to save space. These are all tasks that are often put off due to the lack of time. Make the most of this ‘extra’ time and feel extremely accomplished after organizing!

7. Don’t forget about card and board games. Get into your closet and dig out some oldies but goodies! These types of games can be so much fun, and you can build in some fun and friendly competition. These simple and classic activities help promote family time and are completely screen-free!

8. Use teachable moments. Use everyday moments such as cooking a meal, folding clothes, or cleaning by building chores into your routine. Do you have an older child? Teach them how to balance a checkbook, change a tire, or check the oil. These are important life skills that children can help out with or do together as a family.

9. Build in some structure. Put together a loose routine with bite-sized chunks. An example might be choosing a few activities from a list of 30 minutes of math practice, 30 minutes of reading, 30 minutes of science or history, helping with lunch and cleanup, 30 minutes of art or music, 60 minutes of (screen-free) free time, 120 minutes of outside play, 30 minutes of chores. Do not try to replicate seven hours of instructional time; instead, try modeling continuous learning. If something does not work for your family, try something different!

10. Start a family journal. This can be in digital or print format. Take some photos and videos (or better yet, have your child capture them!) and print them out or put them on a family blog or share on social media. It will be fun for your family to look back on all of your memories from the 2020 COVID-19 quarantine for many years to come.

What are YOU doing to incorporate learning and movement for your children while also balancing working from home?


Andrea Townsley is a GWAEA school improvement consultant

Category: The Carpool Lane