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Originally Published: Mar 20, 2020

The kids are home—now what?

Schools are closed and many parents have adopted a new role: teacher. This is uncharted territory for many and can be overwhelming as you navigate working from home, social distancing, and mental sanity.

Here are some tips to help you and your children adjust to this new routine and stay engaged:

1. Create a schedule. 

It is important to have a schedule and daily routine that suits the needs of everyone in the family. If you have more than one child, try to align their schedules so you are not feeling pulled in too many directions. Have your child(ren) help you create the schedule so they feel invested in their activities and post the schedule where they can easily see it to help build excitement.

2. Have fun with it. 

Create a theme for each week that carries throughout your activities. Have your kids help you come up with ideas—the more buy in you have from them, the more success you will have teaching! Try to pick a theme you can support with resources and items from around your home.

Some fun theme ideas: shapes, colors, transportation, animals, gardening, family, space, water, Dr. Seuss, spring.

3. Make space to be active. 

This is a great time to teach your kids about a healthy lifestyle. Schedule “gym class” each day and incorporate kid-friendly exercises to prioritize movement.

Here are some exercises to try:

  • Patty Cake Push-Ups: Face a partner and lower into a plank position. Keeping a strong core, lower your bodies to the ground. Once you have pushed back up and arms are fully extended, reach out and tap the opposite hand of the parent or child across from you, alternating hands with each repetition
  • Jump Squats with High Fives: Stand toe to toe with a partner. Bend your knees as if sitting back in an invisible chair. Then straighten knees and jump. When legs are fully extended, high five the parent or child across from you with both hands, arms extended in the air.
  • Frog Jumps: With core tight, lower into an imaginary chair, as low as possible or until fingertips can touch ground. Keeping knees behind toes, push up and jump forward, landing with knees bent.
  • Supermans: Lie flat on the floor, face down, with spine in a straight line. Gently raise the legs and arms simultaneously, squeezing the glutes so your body forms an elongated “U” shape. Hold for several seconds.
  • Butterfly pose: Sitting up straight, bend your knees and bring your feet together. Allow your knees to fall to the side. Sit up tall and take a few deep breaths before releasing the pose.
  • Snake pose: Lie flat on the ground, face down, with hands under your shoulders. Gently raise your shoulders and head off of the ground feeling a stretch in the lower back. Take a few deep breaths before releasing the pose.
  • Elephant pose: Standing up straight, bend at the hips so your hands reach the ground. Clasp your hands together at the bottom to form the “trunk of the elephant”. Take a few deep breaths before releasing the pose.
  • Downward-facing dog: Starting from an all fours position, shoulders over wrists and hips over knees,  curl the toes under and lift the tailbone. Press the hips back to form a V with your body. Relax your head and neck and take a few deep breaths before releasing the pose.

4. Make a masterpiece.

Set up an arts and crafts area where your children can make a mess and stretch their creative muscles. Give them time to create without a goal in mind, allowing for exploration and fun. Use recyclables as supplies—empty cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, glass jars. Make homemade playdough for a special activity. 

5. Get some fresh air. 

Spending time in nature and soaking up the sunshine is a great way to boost your immune system, stay active, and brighten your mood. Allow time for unstructured play outside but also find ways to incorporate nature into your learning center. Some outdoor activities that are educational, creative, and active include: wildlife observation, a scavenger hunt, nature walk, build something out of sticks, weed pulling, cloud observation, nature maze. 

Now more than ever it is important to take care of yourself and be sure to fill up your cup. Taking time to slow down, focus, and redirect your thoughts is proven to aid physical, mental, and emotional well-being. As you craft your weekly schedule, be sure to set aside time for yourself to practice mindfulness and meditation. 

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