Let’s begin with the general disclaimer that I won’t discuss any medical advice in this blog post and suggest that you check out the CDC for the most recent updates in regards to the Coronavirus.
If you’re anything like me right about now, you’re slightly panicked over the unknown element involving the Coronavirus, equally confused over the shortage of toilet paper in the local Target, and hoping for some sort of media break from COVID-19. Don’t forget how it may be affecting small businesses. While I’m not offering a break from the topic, I am hoping to guide other moms to practical resources to help us all efficiently plan ahead. Especially if/when our kid’s schools beyond the UW end up closing.
Stick to a Routine and Schedule
With kids home from school and work conducted from home, life is bound to get a little more chaotic and stressful. Keeping to a general schedule and routine will save everyone a little sanity and also help avoid a drop in academic performance. One of my favorite tips about screen time comes from a blogger with other great toddler activity ideas, The Busy Toddler. She recommends to use screen time as a tool. By all means, use your screen time tool when you need it. Here is a sample elementary-aged schedule for balancing a longer break at home with kids:
7:00- Wake up/Get Dressed
8:00- Online Learning Activity
10:15- Motor Activity (obstacle course, exercise, Cosmic Kids Yoga)
11:30- Quiet/Nap Time (encourage independent reading, a movie, whatever works)
1:00- 2nd Online Learning Activity
2:00- Art activity (coloring, mazes, use whatever supplies are on hand!)
3:00- End of “School Day” and begin “Free Time”
By keeping a set schedule, you’ll avoid the constant nagging of snack-time and also keep a little structure in an otherwise abnormal day. When activities become a routine, it will be clear where you can fit in more time for work. Over time, you’ll hopefully only need to be giving attention during the transition times and then carving out segments to complete your own tasks.
Continue Learning With Free Online Resources
I’ve dug up a few online learning options to consider for different age ranges. My favorite find was the nonprofit Khan Academy which has active instructions for continuing education for those affected by the Coronavirus. Their mission is to “provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere.” It also has a kid’s app that’s suited for the ipad or a phone! Other great resources include:
- WhyVille: “Whyville is a virtual world where children ages 8 to 15 play, explore, create and learn together.” The focus is on math play and interactive engagement.
- FunBrain: “Created for kids in grades Pre-K through 8, Funbrain.com has been the leader in free educational games for kids since 1997. Funbrain offers hundreds of games, books, comics, and videos that develop skills in math, reading, problem-solving and literacy.”
- National Geographic Kids: An interactive website of the National Geographic Kids Magazine content in an informative and fun platform. Learn about animals and climates across the globe with recommended learning activities and games!
Get Out Together And Head To Outdoor Parks or Hiking Trails
Use our guide to local parks and hiking trails to stay social in an outdoor setting where germs are less likely to spread quickly. While the weather might not be as perfect as summertime, the sanity might be worth pulling on your rain boots, coats and toughing the Wisconsin weather.
Stay Social Online
While in-person gatherings may be limited, we thankfully have a great resource through Madison Mom in the neighborhood groups. You can chat with your neighbors and other moms while avoiding groups. If you haven’t joined yours yet, you can request to join your respective group here. The purpose of the groups is to cultivate the neighborhood community– meaning that you’re free to chat, meet, and make friends there without worrying about ads or spam. It’s truly a resource meant for YOU!
Together, we’ll get through the mayhem that is the Coronavirus (although from further apart). And as a final reminder, I’ll direct you to the CDC website for current protocols and recommendations as far as public gatherings, hygiene, and other ways to prevent the spread of the virus. While I won’t provide any medical advice, I can try to encourage other moms to think ahead for life at home with kids well beyond the duration spring break.