Janet Nordine, MS, LMFT, RPT-S
- Create a learning space for each child. This is an area of the home where only school is done during school time. Try to keep them out of their bedrooms and in a common area of the home.
- Have a box, bin, bag for school supplies – pencils, crayons, etc. and put it away at the end of the learning day. Use this only for school time.
- Allow a fidget toy or 2 – it is hard to be on a screen all day and allowing hands some movement while listening helps the brain focus (small movable toy, fidget spinner etc.)
- Keep TV and other distractions off during school time.
- Spend time after school talking about the child’s day – ask about what friends they saw, what their teacher did and said. Not just “how was your day?” Ask specific questions. Have your child teach YOU something they learned during the week.
- Have water and a snack with protein in it available to keep the brain hydrated and ready to learn.
- Keep to a structured routine – breakfast at the same time, dress for school, hair combed, teeth brushed. Say no to pajamas to keep school feeling like school.
- Read together, to your child and have your child read to you. Use the free Libby app for Clark County Library with a library card you can check out books together to read
- If you have multiple children doing school together, find separate spaces for them to interact with their classes to avoid conflict and interruption. This will help with avoiding fights and telling on siblings.
- Only use school issued computers for learning – no downloading games, watching YouTube etc.
Give your child praise daily.
Validate that this being home for work and school is hard and share that it is hard for you, too. Offer support and to listen to them.
Give hugs and encouragement daily.
Attend parent teacher conferences – stay in touch with the school and teacher. Let the school know when your child is struggling, and you need extra help and support.
While this is a list of suggestions, I want to acknowledge that many families will have a hard time with work and school balance. Not everyone will be able to make all 10 items work for them, so pick and choose what resonates with you and also, offer yourself the gift of making mistakes and not doing things perfectly. This is sure a hard time and we are all doing the best we can.
Best pro tip – Take time to play a bit every day, go outside, take deep breaths, laugh a lot.
Your nervous system will thank you as well as your children.