My phone beeped. Our school district left a voicemail message that school would be cancelled for two weeks due to COVID-19. When school resumes, our students will be engaging in Distance Learning. How does our family survive two weeks at home being quarantined with no homework, no physical schooling, and no social lifel? Not to fear…this is the perfect time for your family to organize a “new normal.”
Around the globe, people are being quarantined in their homes to stop the spread of the ubiquitous virus. Every time I read the news, something has been cancelled or closed…including our schools. This all seems surreal! Is this really happening?
It is and we are prepared to create normalcy in the midst of chaos.
People crave structure and control of their lives. We feel like we have lost this structure and control by the current events that continue to manifest. This creates stress, confusion, and panic.
Time to reclaim our lives! Empower yourself and your family by taking charge of the situation by organizing new a family structure.
Top 7 Tips to Creating a New Normal in Your Family
1.Hold a Family Meeting~ Family planning is key. Talk to your children about this ‘new normal,’ and communicate with them that while they may be at home, there are still assignments that must be completed in a timely manner. Since your child is coming from a structured school environment, structure is important for both them and you.
2.Create a Daily Schedule~ It’s important to have set hours for school, meals, chores and other daily activities. Many routine activities are now disrupted, and that’s going to be an emotional process for everyone. Kids are going to be disappointed, as are parents, not to have their normal routine. Decide on a schedule together as a team. Let the kids help plan it and it will run smoother.
3.Create a Learning Environment~ Help them create their own work space — at the kitchen table, on their bed, in a comfy chair in the living room — and know that you may find a rotation works well for different subjects, especially for those students accustomed to visiting a different classroom and teacher for math, English and electives.
4.Reach Out to Teachers~ If you have questions do not be afraid to reach out to your student’s teachers!
5.Incentives~ Some students are self-motivated, but some may need time limits or incentives like, ‘You need to finish ABC before you can XYZ.’ Not every student is a morning person, but it’s much easier to accomplish what you need to first thing, before the whole day slips by, so that’s a great case for building incentives into your new routine — just as we encourage our children to eat their vegetables before they can have a slice of cake. Incentives like time with electronics or playtime once schoolwork is complete, and suggests making expectations clear to kids so there’s no confusion about what they need to get finished to earn their reward. For younger children, a dry erase board, where you can list out all assignments and chores for the day and then check them off as they go, may be most effective.
6.Take Breaks~ Downtime is just as helpful in getting through the school day as a schedule. Students have downtime at school throughout a normal school day, while they’re changing classes or while they’re waiting for other students to finish their work. Remember to give them the same while they’re at home.
Set a timer for study time and breaks. Example: study for 30 minutes, break for 5 minutes.
7.Make it fun! Everything is easier when there is an element of fun to it.
At your family meeting, brainstorm “fun” things your family would like to do.
Ideas: game night, theme day (pajama day), movie montage, nature walk, play w/dogs outside, bike, dance party, dress up in costumes, scavenger hunt.
Thank you to licensed school counselor, Tami Duke, for sharing this information, article, and video to help us establish our “new normal!”
All is well.
Out of this situation, only good will happen.
I am safe.
~ Louise Hay (1926-2017)
Love & Blessings,
Jackie Bye (M.S., Licensed School Counselor)