COVID-19 and being cooped up with your kids at home have created some unique challenges for parents. With school closures, many parents are wondering how to help their kids get through this time with positivity. What about their education? How do you keep your kids engaged and excited about learning when they could be watching movies on the couch?
Keeping your kids healthy, active, and engaged while at home can seem like an impossible challenge, especially for the parents trying to work from home at the same time! But with a bit of planning, home learning can be just as fun as school — or maybe even more fun!.
Create a Schedule
A schedule is essential when learning or working from home — especially if it’s flexible. That flexibility is crucial to getting your child excited and eager to follow. With some routine, you can more easily keep your child on track, and it doesn’t need to be rigid. A loose plan helps children to stay on task when they know that they have free time coming up. Think about the schedule that they have at school and try to create something similar.
Opt for Interactive Learning
There are many ways to make “boring” school subjects fun. Home is a great place for science, math, and many other subjects. For instance, the kitchen is the perfect spot for some fun science experiments. These can help children to learn about chemistry and biology interactively and engagingly.
We also recommend coming up with project ideas. In these projects, your child can delve into any topic that interests them through self-directed research. After, they can create a little presentation for sharing what they’ve learned with you. This is a fantastic way to work on presentation and communication skills, as well as research skills and knowledge on the chosen subject.
Dolphin Kids™ will be providing live interactive online life skills sessions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Kids Helping Kids Initiative provides youth with a platform to virtually connect and share their knowledge with children across Canada and around the world! Youth Ambassadors for the initiative have taught classes in public speaking, debate, coding, art, crafts, virtual tours, math skills, Model UN, entrepreneurship, and storytelling, You can find more information regarding these sessions on Facebook or Instagram.
Incorporate Group Work Where Possible
Group work is so beneficial for children. Look for a way to keep your children in touch with their friends when they’re home for an extended period. Thankfully, the modern world makes it very easy with things like video chat. Video chats with friends are an excellent example of positive technology use. Another fun activity for children is writing letters to their friends.
“For the young brain, social interaction is a powerful amplifier of reward, and peer group interactions increase dopamine release.” – The Dolphin Parent
Accept Technology’s Help
Technology can be extremely beneficial to help you keep your child learning. There are many online resources to help parents create fun and informative lessons for their children, such as Khan Academy, a resource for parents to find remote learning programs for children aged 2 to 18.
Many programs also offer fun learning computer games for children. Prodigy is an excellent example of a fun, math specific computer game for kids. Many museums are also offering virtual tours right now for free, and National Geographic has a great kid’s website.
Sometimes, as parents, we’re so fearful of our children feeling bored that we forget there’s a benefit to boredom. Boredom is a necessary part of development for children. It’s a time when children slow down and puzzle through some of their experiences or find creative ways to entertain themselves.
“Many parents tell me they keep their children busy because, otherwise, they become bored or anxious. These parents are just setting up their children for a lifetime of needing to be busy to deal with boredom and anxiety, which are normal parts of life. Engaging in hobbies and sports is great, but being so busy that little time is left to engage in life is terrible.” – The Dolphin Parent
We get it, having your kids cooped up at home and getting bored can be a nightmare for parents. “Mom, I’m bored!” “Dad, come play with me.” “Mom, Dad, can we go do (insert fun activity here).”
So to summarize, when going somewhere to do something fun with their friends isn’t an option, the trick to keeping them engaged is to have a basic routine and plan that your child is ready to follow. This should include free time for play as well as blocks of time dedicated to learning. Learning is going to be different at home. There are more distractions, and it doesn’t feel like a space to sit down and study like school is. Try to make learning fun through helpful technology-based resources and hands-on experimental learning. Crafts are also an excellent activity to fill up some time.
If you’d like to join in on the Dolphin Kids™ live sessions, or Kids Helping Kids Initiative, please get in touch to get the details. We’d love to help you during this confusing and ever-changing time.