No one could have predicted what your classroom would look like now – a nature poster as a backdrop on the wall of your dining room for visual effect, an iPad on your left and a laptop on your right to make sure you’re seeing what you’re students are seeing – it’s a brand new world for all of us and making adjustments is essential. Since this “new normal” is difficult but temporary, you and the parents of your kiddos need support in helping to keep the learning going.
Below are five fun strategies that you can share with parents to help them sustain the mental and physical health of those kids you miss and love.
- Create a schoolroom – find a makeshift desk and pull out that old whiteboard you had such great intentions for and give your child her own office. New spaces are exciting for kids to design and own. Distractions are reduced when the mental switch between school time and playtime is prompted by the visual and spatial cues of going to a different room or putting up classroom decorations.
- Make the day predictable – Having rules and routines create a sense of safety and control. It’s easier for your preschooler (and you!) to manage emotions, focus, and achieve goals when you are prepared for what’s next.
- Get the wiggles out before and after lessons – break the day up with themed games like Five Little Monkeys, Freeze Dance, or What’s Missing to help increase your child’s attention span and get comfortable with change. Share this free activity, Bear/Dragon, with your parents, as a way to introduce them to supervised play activities they can do at home. Reflection Sciences has developed PreK Intervention Activities Guides for both Parents and Teachers with more than a dozen fully scripted games and activities.
- Don’t make it all reading and numbers – add a daily brain challenge to your routine. Research shows that using strategies at home that develop executive function skills ensures that learning loss is not accelerated. Sesame Street developed a series of fun videos using Cookie Monster to demonstrate restraint by withstanding his temptation to gobble down his cookies. The full playlist available here.
- End your day with reflection – thinking about the frustrations and curiosities of the day and discussing them can help your child improve their emotional understanding and decompress. It can also be a good time to check in on how they feel and give them the space to share both successes and frustrations.
You’re not alone in any of this and your own social-emotional competencies are being challenged. Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of your children’s parents, you both care deeply for those kids and being open and honest about your feelings and the stress surrounding this situation is hard for everyone.
Remember, even though you’re a superhero teacher, you’re still only human (as far as anyone else knows…wink, wink).
Additional Resources to share with Parents:
- Executive Function Activities at Home – 20 engaging activities for parents to try at home
- Building Executive Function at Home with Children – a FREE course for parents to learn more about supporting EF and SEL skill development
For information regarding all ages of students, check out our other blogs focused on learning at home: