I have been thinking about each and every one of you and your kids over the past month. Really. It’s been such a challenging time as we quarantine during the coronavirus and the Covid-19 crisis in Bend Oregon and it’s going to continue to be challenging for weeks and potentially months to come. On-line school is in motion and it all feels very new and different now. I’d like to help you. I hope this this article offers some hope and positivity for you and your family.
Here are some ideas I would like to share to help you and your family get through this time. You’ve surely received endless emails from the schools and teachers about how to manage on-line schooling, etc. I’m here to help you manage some of the day-to-day executive function issues that are most certainly up.
First, make a schedule with your kids. Really. Even though it feels like there is nothing to schedule since all of our activities, meetings, etc. have been cancelled, do this anyway. Draw up a weekly calendar that shows when each of you has something that needs to get done. Start by writing in when on-line classes are happening each day. Then add blocks of time to do homework. Chunk the time slots for homework. It’s best to do shorter, focused chunks of homework no longer than one hour at a time. Schedule in breaks, or as I call them, intermissions. Set timers. Ask your kid if you can be of any assistance by setting a back-up timer for them. But please, don’t nag. The more you get their buy-in with the schedule making, and get their suggestions about chunking time, the less you will have to nag.
Schedule screen time. By all means, make sure you talk to your kid about how much time they think is reasonable to be on their screens daily, apart from their school work time on screens. This includes gaming, YouTube, TV, etc.
Schedule in exercise and family time. Make sure you and your kids are eating well, exercising at least 25-30 minutes a day, and make time to sit together and have tea and tell jokes. Or, if that sounds dorky to them, ask them for suggestions of things that would be enjoyable to do together as a family. Maybe an hour of movie time or time for them to share their favorite YouTube videos with you would be fun at the end of the day.
Get connected in ways you haven’t before. Build your relationship with your kids and significant others. Experiment. But most importantly, ask your kids for their ideas for how they can feel successful during this very challenging time. Ask them to tell you how you can best support them. This may take a while for them to answer. Try not to answer for them. Give them space and time to come up with some ideas. Ask your kids what sorts of things they would like to do together as a family. Ask your kids what schedule would work best for them in order to accomplish their school tasks, chores, and needed exercise and sleep.
This is also a great time to teach your kids some of the household necessities like, how to do their own laundry. How to clean the kitchen floor, how to clean the toilet. How to vacuum the stairs. How to help with prepping for a meal together. How to cook spaghetti and meatballs. These are skills that we all must learn and so many of our kids simply don’t learn before they leave the home for college or a job out of town. This is a very valuable time to teach these things while they are home all day, and so are you. Many of you may rely on house cleaners but are now on your own with the cleaning chores. Enlist your kids to help. Be very specific, give small tasks at first and build to other tasks as they feel a sense of success. Cleaning a window can be hugely rewarding for someone who has always taken for granted how nice it is to look outside at our beautiful environs.
That’s probably enough ideas and suggestions for today. Please, please let me know if I can help in any way. I’m available anytime by phone or facetime/skype. If you have Zoom, that works too. I just don’t want you to feel alone in the confines of your home, with the challenges of keeping your kids on track with their schooling and daily issues that come up when it is necessary to shelter in place.
Be safe and take all precautions to avoid getting sick and spreading the virus. (I am making dozens and dozens of masks for the hospital and medical clinics in town.)
All my love and deepest care and concern,
To learn more executive function strategies to help you, your children and loved ones during the Covid-19 crisis and the corona virus quarantine please follow my blog. If you have any questions contact Sara Wiener Consulting located in Bend Oregon at email@example.com.