Completing the Puzzle
Updated: Jul 30, 2021
School is right around the corner. If you are anything like me, you are feeling the impact of the uncertainties that accompany this school year. While most districts have announced start dates, there are still many lingering questions about how the start of school will function. Last month, I encouraged us not to get overly concerned about the progress of our younger children, because for them instructional time makes up a very small portion of their day. This month, we have to consider the other parts of the puzzle.
According to our P.E.A.C.E. acronym, we have four components of the day that is missing if we choose to go with two 20 minute segments of learning time (That’s the free nugget for today!) The next things to consider are how we maintain emotional, social, spiritual and physical health during these times.
Many parents have chosen the route of learning pods - groups of neighborhood children who will meet together to allow for social engagement and minimize the cost burden for each family. . There are also many individuals entering the nanny field who are taking the job to meet their financial needs. So I offer two words of wisdom: 1) If you are participating in a nanny share, pay your nanny her/his true wage. It is not their hourly wage divided by 2. 2) Set clear goals and have regular check-ins with your caregiver. Otherwise your children are not promised to have access to more than mental, social and physical health needs met.
For those who will not be hiring additional hands to assist in managing the daily routine for your children here are a few things to keep in mind.
The inability to change environments is hard for most people.
Our children are trying to make sense of this new world with or without us.
Screen time should remain limited. Meet the requirements for school but also stay mindful of how screen time is being incorporated into the remainder of their day.
Our children will need moments to express challenges, questions, and difficulties. For some children virtual learning with be a breeze. For others they will have great teachers guiding them through the process. And for others this learning set-up will hinder their performance, not appeal to their learning style, or give rise to new insecurities/fears. In each of these scenarios acknowledge we should remind ourselves to give attention.
So with these things in mind, be intentional about creating establishing the necessary breaks. Reorganize your children’s spaces so they have access to the things they will need before you are able to take an attentive break from work duties.
I would offer as the most important thing, find activities that are academically rich and that appeal to your child’s curiosity! Introducing one activity that enriches their school curriculum and will keep their attention for 20-30 minutes is the key to producing additional success this year. Another trick from the inside is rotate your child’s toys. If children have access to the same toys every day they will grow tired of them. But if you divide them into a set of Monday toys/games/activities, Tuesday toys, etc, you create an element of surprise that helps the child to stay engaged longer.
Last word for completing the puzzle - pay attention to how your child is adjusting. In attitude, behaviors and energy children speak when unable to share verbally. Hold a standard, but be cautious on how hard you push it. There may be a cause to the changes in how our children respond over the next 2 months. And we can patiently care them back to a place of health.
Let us commit to giving attention to all elements of our students health this school year, so when they return they are able to bring all of who they are with them.