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Ideas for Parents at their Wits End

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

What do I do with my kids and how do I get remote learning done? Some of this is dependent on the age of your children. As your children get older, they can start to be more independent and do more on their own. If they are younger, this is not the case and they need more entertainment.

1. Listen to your Kid’s Attention Span: Some of the universal ideas of helping to keep them entertained is to determine what is your child interested in. Are they interested in trucks like my son? Are they interested in arts and crafts like my daughter? The more interested children are in an activity, the longer the activity can last. It is not always easy to determine what they are most interested in, but some of figuring this out is just watching what they play when they are not given direction. Determining what they are most interested in can also help to get other tasks done that the child may not be interested in. Activity idea: I have incorporated the counting or colors into truck playing with my son. Once he is interested, it makes it much easier for him to stay focused.

2. Change the Scenery: Also, as the weather starts to get nicer this can also help as it opens up more ideas and possibilities of what to do during the day. Can they run around in the backyard, blow bubbles, draw with sidewalk chalk, or jump rope while you accomplish your tasks and work for the day? Activity idea: We have a water table and sprinkler that both of my kids will play in for hours.

3. Create a Safe Space for free play: Younger children can be harder as they need more attention in order to stay safe. Can you set up a play area near your work station for him or her? Can you fence off a safe play area for the baby to play in while you work?

4. Quality vs Quantity: While the pandemic is happening and you have your kids home with you, make sure to try to spend some quality time with them. Can you spend a few minutes playing Legos, reading a book, or drawing a picture with them? Can you take some time to bake some cupcakes with them? This does not need to happen all day long, but it is important to remember that this time is hard for the children too. They were pulled from school to not be able to potentially return in the fall. They are watching your responses and the more stressed out you are, they will notice and they will respond accordingly. Activity idea: Ask your child what special thing they want to do with you. My daughter will often tell me reading a chapter in a book we read together.

5. Give more love and worry less about perfect parenting: If they feel some extra love and support, this will go a long way in helping them feel more safe and secure. It is also important to remember that not every day is going to be perfect or even go well. There are going to be days with a lot of emergency meetings or days where it feels like nothing is going right or that none of your routines works the way it normally does. Activity idea: Remind your children that every day will not be perfect and apologize for it being crazy. Take some time to reflect on the day and determine what could have gone better.

Just remember that there is always tomorrow or even 10 minutes from then. Remember to give yourself a little more grace right now during these times and that while it seems like a lot, you are doing your best, even when you don’t feel like you are.

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