Structure can provide children a sense of security through the uncertainty of COVID-19. Strong structures will help them develop their Self-Management skills. They will soak up the security, learn the skills to take responsibility, and take charge of their learning. Here are some tips, ideas for structures at home, and great website resources.
While we are all in the home, what used to be the living room or kitchen table is now a classroom or an office. Designate a room, an area, or a table as a “remote learning zone.” This will help give everyone in the house ownership of a space. Most kids will benefit from multiple spaces to learn. They will make choices for how to best use each area.
In the morning, have your child create a schedule. They will decide when to do schoolwork, when to have downtime, when to exercise, and more! Younger kids can co-create their schedules with an adult.
Be flexible! Is your child’s favorite author is live streaming a read aloud during your scheduled math time? There are times when rules are meant to be broken.
When designing a schedule with your child, keep in mind that it’s not only their school day that has been affected by the pandemic; after school activities are cancelled, athletics are postponed, and playdates have become virtual. Be creative! Schedule movie nights, family game nights, find virtual concerts, and plan virtual field trips to add variety (and sanity) to the quarantine.
Set up “benchmark” times on a schedule that will be set for the day or week such as:
Wake up, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, etc...
Snack and Lunch
Virtual connection with peers
Schedule academic activities that students are tasked to work on in intervals.
15 to 30 minutes for elementary-aged students
30 to 45 minutes for middle school students
45 minutes to an hour for high school students
Schedule enrichment activities like art, movement, music, etc. You should have at least two enrichment activities per day and more for younger kids.
Plan for some time to transition from one activity to the next so your child can get up and move to another location or stretch.
Create a “work in progress” folder or drawer so students can “stay on schedule” and go back to their work at a later time.
Set up a supply table or area, designated for remote learning.
Clear a flat, smooth surface for your child to work on. Make sure they have adequate lighting and comfortable seating.
Place your child’s schedule near their work space. You can hang up a piece of chart paper for younger children or tape it to a laptop for older children.
You can find more tips for creating a supply area for remote learning here.
For Elementary Students
Get creative with break and enrichment times. Have children create a lunch menu or become a sous chef and prepare their next meal.
Prepare simple math games, use online read alouds, and always keep paper and a pencil on hand so children can “stay on schedule” if they finish an activity early.
Make students aware of time. Whether you have an analog clock in your house or use the digital clock on a computer, have even the youngest children use them (you can also use a timer to help them make the connection).
For Middle School Students
Middle school students, like most children, thrive on relationships! Be sure to help them schedule opportunities for virtual collaboration (academic and social) with peers.
Don’t get into a power struggle with your child. Talk about what works and what doesn’t work. Be flexible and make changes as you go. Empower them to take charge of scheduling and lead their learning.
Have students write start and end times for each activity. Put them in charge of transitioning from activity to activity (they may need a reminder or two in the beginning).
For High School Students
You may not need to be as specific with teens. For example, instead of scheduling a morning routine, provide your high school child with a start and end time.
Give older students more responsibility in creating the structures that work for them. Encourage them to reflect on what works and what doesn’t work.