I almost titled this blog pot “Tips from a Former Teacher”, but you never stop being a teacher. And certainly in this season, I am teaching again! I have missed it so much this year in my first year outside of the classroom, but I never expected that this would be how I would be thrust back into the field that I love!
What seems to be working for my family and many families that I know is developing a new routine. This routine can be completely adjusted to meet the new needs of your family in this current time. Do your kids sleep until 10 am? Then, your schedule won’t start until then and probably will extend until later in the day. Our kids do not sleep in, so our family rhythms are staying on the same sleeping schedules. Here are some parts of a routine that I suggest working into your daily rhythm!
• Move: We have started almost every single day with our version of a PE class. The few days that we have not had some form of family movement first in the day have shown us why this is such an important element of our day! We love the time to connect, the boost in our attitudes, and the feeling of empowerment that movement gives us! We love walking the dog, completing a work out DVD, or creating our own fitness circuit! Many experts have warned about the decrease in recess time in elementary schools. We have the power to bring back morning and afternoon recess!
• Create and Explore: One of my favorite elements of this crazy time in history is the surge of free play! We set aside time to build with legos, Lincoln logs, or marble runs. The boys build forts and set up home restaurants. We draw, paint, play with play doh, and color. If you are looking for ideas, many artists and illustrators are hosting live classes. We highly recommend Brightly Art Studio in Brownsburg! They are hosting live classes twice a week and send out an additional activity during the week. All activities can be completed with supplies found in your home!
• Read Aloud: This time is a great time to revive a read aloud tradition! Research shows that kids grow in empathy, perspective taking, comprehension, and fluency from listening to and discussing a quality book. Our family read through the Magic Treehouse series (Mary Pope Osborne), The Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling), and now have moved on to the Swindle series (Gordon Korman).
• Life Skills: One of my favorite things to see is the kids who are learning how to cook, clean, landscape, balance a budget, and take care of a vehicle during this extra time at home.
• Encourage and Respond: Our children are trying to process their emotions during this unsettling time, too. Praying together, journaling, or even just setting aside time to check in on emotions helps us to process these new feelings together. We focus intentionally each day on a way to encourage someone else-neighbor, health care worker, firefighter, police officer, friend, grandparent, or stranger. Our favorite activities so far have included creating care packages for those on the front lines during this time, creating chalk art to encourage the people taking walks, sending snail mail, and hanging our JOY banners (see the free class put on by Brightly Art Studio in link above) in our windows at home and the office!
For those people who are able to stay at home, THANK YOU for staying at home!
For those people who are working to keep us safe and healthy, THANK YOU for sacrificing for the rest of us! Your dedication to people you don’t even know is inspiring to all of us!
Stay tuned for our next post about family GAMES! If you know our family at all, you know we LOVE GAMES!