As a lot of people have started working from home, a lot of kids are now doing school from home as schools are being closed due to the Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19).
We’ve talked about working from home before, but with kids being home we need to plan for that, as the schools may be closed for months depending on where you live. A perfect example is California, where it was just announced that the schools would be closed for the rest of the year.
Create a Work Space
As kids are going to be doing school from home they need a decided space that they can use to do their schoolwork, much like parents need a dedicated workspace. This could be a desk in their room or a desk in the home office. But there should be a dedicated space, if possible avoid having them work at the kitchen/dining room table. Much like parents shouldn’t be working from the kitchen table, kids shouldn’t be either. If you do work from the kitchen table, it feels like you are going to work when eating, and it’ll feel like this even after this is over. In extreme cases, it can lead to eating disorders, especially in young people who are already dealing with those sorts of issues.
Kids need to take breaks from work. School has breaks, learning from home should as well. An elementary school has a few breaks throughout the day as well as recess, when doing learning at home the same basic schedule should stay. If you’ve got a back yard, send the kids out there on breaks so they can get some sunshine and fresh air. If you are in an apartment that doesn’t have a back yard, the kids may require some supervision in the front yard. But this isn’t a bad thing, this will give you a break from working which is good for you as well.
School stops before work ends
It’s normal for a school to end their day before the workday ends. If the learning from home is done before you are done working, then support the kids being done. This may involve kids watching TV, or playing a game. Be supportive of their being done, and help them come up with an activity that doesn’t disrupt your finishing working.
This is not an extended vacation
This is all happening around Spring Break time. Kids may want to take advantage of this by treating this as an extended spring break by going to the mall, or the movies with friends. This is not an extended spring break. This is a different beast. Kids should not be going out anywhere doing this. This is going to mean a lot of “bring mean” and “not understanding” by parents in order to keep the kids at home. Kids are going to have to settle for talking to their friends on Skype, FaceTime, Text Message, Snap Chat, whatever else that they use to talk to their friends that I don’t know about. Along with this, kids shouldn’t be congregating in groups, even in someone’s back yard or in their house. I remember being a teenager, and this is going to be hard for a lot of teenagers to do, especially long term. But the risk of someone in their social group having Coronavirus and passing it to someone else in their social group, who then passes it to parents/grandparents/etc. is very high.
Keep in touch with Grandparents … by phone
People like grandparents are going to feel really isolated during this as they are in the highest risk group. Be sure to call them regularly so they can keep up to date on how the rest of the family is going. Sadly we don’t want to see them so that we can keep them up to date in person, the risk of passing the Coronavirus to them is just too high. This means making regular phone calls, or even facetime calls so that grandparents can see the grandkids. It might even be a good idea to put making these phone calls into a calendar so that you get a reminder about making these calls. The other advantage to talking with Grandparents regularly (or daily) is that you can check in on them and see if there are any differences in how they look or any symptoms that need to be reported to their doctor or emergency medical staff.
Obviously this isn’t an extensive list but check back for other tips as this emergency continues.