How to Survive Your Kids During the COVID-19 Break

This post has absolutely nothing to do with Disney. However, I’m going to take a pause from Disney and throw my teacher hat back on for just a minute. Being a former teacher for ten years, I know one thing: Parents are going to need the help, and we all need to help each other out.

How do teachers do it with 30 kids in a classroom? Here’s a few tricks to help you get through the “Schools out for a month+” quarantine:

First I’ll start with the Bucket List that I posted to Instagram. You can download the one that was written for you here:

If you want a blank one, and want to write in all your own bucket list options, you’ll want this one:

If you want to know how teacher’s make it through the day: keep reading. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments, I’ll be happy to do everything I can to help you survive.

Strategy #1: Create a Schedule

Kids thrive on a schedule. Set a schedule for Monday through Friday. Leave the weekends for regular weekend chaos. Everyday, kids are used to the routine that at a certain time *something* happens. Whether it’s math, reading, recess, computer time, PE, there’s always a schedule.

Another trick to that schedule is to keep that schedule from about 9-4 every day. Then, decide if it’s free play or a family outing or making dinner or something together to get you thru the witching hours of 4 til bedtime.

For your schedule, don’t make anything last more than 45 minutes, unless you’re truly on a roll and whatever you’re doing is engaging all parties… but remember. End it while it’s hot so that they’ll be interested the next time you bring it back. Pro Tip: If you hear “nooo!! Please can we have 5 more minutes!” Give them those 5 minutes but then move on. Then, keep that activity in your back pocket.

A sample schedule for the day:

  • 9am – 9:45am: Activity #1 (An academic activity: math, writing, etc)
  • 945- 10:15am: Activity #2 (some sort of quick lesson! Even a life lesson is great!)
  • 10:15-10:45am: Play time. Free Play. Imaginitive play. Something to get the wiggles out, and don’t forget a good snack!
  • 10:45-11:30: Activity #3: (Another academic activity: reading, geography, science)
  • 11:30 – 12: Activity #4: Another quick lesson: Maybe a PE type of activity?
  • 12-1pm: Lunch Time and Free Play
  • 1-130pm: Quiet Reading Time. Quiet rest. The downtime (which should energize you for the afternoon)
  • 1:30-2:15pm: Activity #5: This should be some sort of academic activity again, which could be ipad learning time
  • 2:15-2:30pm: Quick fast break time of Free Play
  • 2:30-3:15pm: Your last lesson of the day. Make this a cool one: Science, Art, Music, etc.
  • 3:15-3:45pm: Go for a walk or ride bikes or run. Something to get OUTSIDE and clear your mind.

Need some ideas for ipad learning or ways to get the wiggles out? Here’s some help for younger kids:

  • GO Noodle is perfect to get the wiggles out
  • Starfall education is AWESOME and lower elementary/preschool kiddos
  • BrainPop will probably be worth it’s weight in gold to get you through the COVID-19 break. You can print the quizzes and the work sheets, and the videos are of Tim and Moby (a robot). They’re funny and interesting and GREAT learning for kids. There’s lots of FREE videos as well.
  • ABC Mouse: Has more than 9,000 animated activities, games, puzzles, etc.
  • Funbrain: This site is full of free educational games

For Kids that are a little older, ages 9 – 13:

  • BrainPop will probably be worth it’s weight in gold to get you through the COVID-19 break. You can print the quizzes and the work sheets, and the videos are of Tim and Moby (a robot). They’re funny and interesting and GREAT learning for kids. There’s lots of FREE videos as well.
  • National Geographic Kids is a great site, full of videos and educational activities about the world around us, and animals as well.
  • United States Mint is a FUN website for any engineer-minded kid. It shows all about how money is made at the U.S. Mint.
  • Weather Wiz Kids: From tornados to tsunamis, Weather Wiz Kids breaks down the world of weather. This website would be awesome to use if you “Create an Evacuation Plan” activity on the bucket list.

Strategy #2: Create a Management System

Whether it’s behavior bucks or stickers or stars, create that management system for behavior and STICK WITH IT. You WILL get to the point where your child is going absolutely crazy from lack of something “different”. Make sure you stay consistent with whatever your strategy is.

One strategy I used to love is if we had a fun activity (say a SMORES night), I would use the word SMORES as my management system. The class had the word SMORES written up on the white board. If, by the end of the day they still had a letter of the word SMORES left, then they earned the fun activity as the reward. Every time I gave a warning and it was ignored, they would lose a letter. So then they had SMORE left. Then SMOR… you get the picture. The only time it wouldn’t work is when I would forget that this was my management system. So just stay the course, stick with one, and BE CONSISTENT with it.

Keep in mind – the Behavior Bucks (cough *Boston Bucks*) system is a LIFE SKILL. For good behavior, reward them with money. For bad behavior. Charge them the money. For younger kids, keep it on a daily basis and square up at the end of each day. For older kids, do it on a weekly basis, and square up at the end of each week. Again, CONSISTENCY IS KEY.

Strategy #3: Create a Bucket List

Create a bucket list of things to look forward to during the quarantine time. All those things you usually say no to, say yes, and put them on the bucket list as something for them to look forward to. It doesn’t have to cost money. It can be as simple as “build a fort” to “make home made ice cream” to “ride bikes to get a donut”. Keep that bucket list printed and posted so that it’s tangible and top of mind. Decide days you’re going to do an activity, and let the kids check it off once it’s done. It’s just another small something that they can look forward to.

Questions? Ideas? Leave them in the comments below!

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