No, this does not have to do with photography per say but a large portion of our clients have kids, we have two kids, and are now in the midst of school closures. So, knowing that we are all kind of scrambling to figure things out I thought this was the opportune time to offer some educational ideas as we all prep to keep our kiddos occupied for a whole six weeks. This is just a launching point and I know there are so many more ideas out there but for the stressed out overwhelmed parents who need some guidance is basic structure I hope the follow tips prove useful for you.
1. Arts and Crafts
I dare you to google arts and crafts and not get sucked down the Pinterest rabbit hole. But what kid doesn't love a little art time. When we lived in Kent I was apart of an art docent program through the PTSA at my son's school. It was a pretty cool experience and I learned lots of new tricks. You can actually teach your kids about art through colors, color moods, art history, textures, mediums, and sooooo much more. Doing a basic color wheel project will give you a lesson to teach them about complimentary colors, primary colors, etc. Grab some craft paper, print out an activity sheet online, and have some fun learning about art basics.
2. Online Programs
We all know how much of an impact not being in school has on the educational development of our children. They learn better when they are consistent and in class. Well since they are now home bound, it's time we take action on their studies. Most schools are already using e-learning programs such as MobyMax, XtraMath, iReady, Zearn, etc, and kids know their logins for these. If they don't, a quick email to their teacher and you will be able to access the FREE learning resources provided by the public school systems. Most schools recommend a minimum of 20 minutes of math and 20 minutes of english at home on these programs each week. With not being in school they can do these each day giving you 40 (or more) minutes of education time for them and breathing time for you. Each of these programs are designed to work with your child's learning levels and are in line with their at progress in the classroom. You can accompany the math programs with worksheets so they get more hands on practice.
3. Reading Time
We plan to implement 30 minutes of reading time in the morning after breakfast and 30 minutes before bed. Our kids love stories and we encourage they read often. This keeps kids off screens all day and actively exploring their imaginations.
4. Recess at Home
Kids NEED to get outside for about 2 hours a day. Even if it's raining and cold outside kids thrive on fresh air. When they are driving you up the walls that should be your sign to get them outside and burn off some energy. Let them take to the backyard to self entertain (under supervision of course). Let them ride bikes, take a walk around the neighborhood, have snack on the porch, blow bubbles, or pull out the sidewalk chalk if weather permits. Just get them out of the house each day to keep everyone's sanity. We usually do playtime around 10:30 outside for 30 minutes, 30 minutes after lunch around 1:00 and another 45-60 minutes around 4:00 to give me time to cook dinner in peace.
5. Family Chores
It's never too early to have the kids help with chores. Our philosophy here at our home is that by teaching them from a young age the responsibilities of keeping a home they will grow into adults who appreciate and take pride in how they care of their things. Simple activities like putting away the silverware (knifes not included for toddlers please), folding their laundry, switching loads, picking up the living room or play room together, organizing bookshelves, or even dusting are totally age appropriate activities that kids can help you with. Think of how clean your house will be with the extra hands on deck......
6. Stay Healthy
No matter what viruses are circulating it's important to always continue their hygiene protocols that they have in place at school. Go outside, wash your hands. Go to the bathroom, wash your hands, Cough or sneeze, wash your hands. Ready for a meal or snack, wash your hands, Picked your nose, wash your hands.
This is the key thing we can all do to not contract illnesses. Not that the news hasn't stated that all week....
Other things our family is doing to stay safe and well are:
Ningxia daily: This is a wolfberry antioxidant drink that our whole family takes everyday, sometimes multiple times a day if we are under the weather.
Elderberry Syrup: Under the age of 8-1 tsp over the age of 8-1 tbsp daily for immune support. This stuff is great. If you haven't heard the craze look it up and then come talk to me. We purchase this from a local gal who does an amazing job and only uses the best ingredients
Kombucha: This stuff is not a fan favorite in our house but gut health is key to a healthy immune system. You can ask your doctor.... I'm not making that up. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that is full of live probiotics that help maintain healthy gut flora. This stuff is on tap right now here.
Limiting Sugar: Sugar gives bacteria something to feed on. The less you intake the less nourishment you lend to the yuck that filters through your intestines. Bacteria cant flourish in a healthy diet environment. This will just make you and your family feel better overall but truly does impact the immune system so much. Eating whole foods (now that we have the time at home to cook from scratch), drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and limiting sugar is our formula to better immunity.
OUR DAILY SCHEDULE DURING SCHOOL CLOSURES:
Reading Time: 8:00-8:30
Online Learning: 8:30-9:30
Family Chore Time: 9:30-10:15 (once a week this is running to the store time)
Lunch: 11:45 prep 12:00 eating
Quiet Time: 1:00-2:00 (we offer extra reading, naps, stretching, quiet individual free play, coloring)
Snack: 2:00-2:30 *we make them together before eating so that's why I account for 30 minutes*
Free Play together: 2:30-4:00 (if chores need to be finished we do those here as well)
Dinner 5-5:30 depending on the night
And the rest is unscheduled
Between the hand washing, snacks, meals, family chores, online learning time, reading, and recess activities you will have your kids busy ALL day long. I hope this helps some of you moms or dads who might be overwhelmed with the idea of being home for an extra six weeks unplanned. Share this article with your friends when they tell you they are freaking out and don't know what to do. It will serve as a great starting point for us all. Stay safe and well friends.