This was the scene yesterday when my kids abandoned me at the table and went outside to set up a tent. We are still adjusting to being home together during this worrisome time. Many of you are also working from home while keeping kids busy and quiet during conference calls. This new situation is difficult to adjust to and trying to both work and give your children attention is difficult. I am writing this post about what it is like for my family and also as a reminder to myself to take it slow.
Learning at Home is Not the Same as Learning at School
The numerous learning activities being posted on social media is overwhelming. It is lovely that so many companies and educators are offering free content, tutoring, and webinars. The difficulty comes in researching and vetting content that is appropriate for your children. It is also disheartening to find a “cool” activity and prepare the materials only to have your child engage with it for 2 minutes and walk away. It is more productive to ask kids what subjects and hobbies they enjoy and find content related to what they are interested in.
Make Time for Free Play
I made attempts to provide some learning time over the last couple of days but we mostly spend the day playing. Playing is doing things because they are fun. Play is meaningful and necessary for our development. It provides the freedom to explore and test ideas and materials. As we transition to working and learning at home, it is important to provide the kids and ourselves with time for play. For adults, it might mean trying a new cake recipe or making time for a new hobby. Play helps all of us reduce stress.
“Play is time spent without purpose”Dr. Stuat Brown
Make Time to Move Everyday
I had a bit of a meltdown this past weekend, feeling all doom and gloom with news of the growing pandemic. Sunday afternoon, I got out of my pajamas and went to the backyard to exercise. After about 30 minutes, I started feeling much better. The same is true for kids. They are cooped up and away from friends and teammates. As a family, we decided to go for a bike ride, workout, or go to the park everyday. My high schooler loves throwing javelin. He is really missing the high school track team, coaches, and competition. It is important to me that he continues to do what he enjoys. I took him to the park so he could go through warm-up drills and throw his javelin. My younger son and I also had a nice game of catch. Our small dog had fun frolicking in the tall grass and it made us smile to see her running with such joy.
While we are all staying home, let’s make time for fun. Playing and spending time outside have given us a break from gloomy news and given us moments of joy to cherish. Let’s encourage each other to remain playful.