First off, we'd like to thank our panelists, Katie Webb Cyphert, Sara Evans, and Jeff Roussel, for joining our webinar. If you weren't able to attend, you can find the answers to some of your top questions about how to cope with kids in quarantine below.
We included many resources on different ways keep your kids engaged and entertained at the bottom of the post. Additionally, if you're specifically looking for resources on how your district can successfully implement school at home for kids, be sure to check out lead4ward's school@home. Lead4ward provides informative, concise, and creative tools to help support your district's transition to this new norm of school at home.
How are you teaching your kids about social distancing?
A simple rule is the easiest rule for kids. Our rule is simple: no interaction with the outside world. This makes sure that there’s no ambiguity about what social distancing entails. Also to help kids understand the “why” behind social distancing, this video from Mythbusters shows how easily germs are spread:
What advice do you have for parents trying to balance working from home and kid’s schoolwork?
It’s important to release any expectations you may have about teaching the same amount of time at home as they do at school. How much time your kids spend on academic tasks need to be realistic. When you’re home, an 8-3pm schedule is not realistic.
When your kids are at home, there are other ways for them to learn. For example, you can have your child watch a science video on YouTube. After they watch the video, have them summarize to you what they learned. This is just as valuable as formal education. Also, this spreadsheet is a great way to help your kids self manage their schoolwork each week. Print and post this in their work area, and they can check off each 10 minute block themselves.
How do you use technology to help kids interact with their peers?
There are many ways to keep your kids entertained and interacting with peers via technology. You can try:
- Video playdates - Get some friends together and plan a virtual playdate.
- GamePigeon - Great way to have your kids play simple games with peers and older relatives.
- Local libraries - Check your local library’s website for a virtual read along.
Is there such a thing as too much screen time?
I found that teens are processing a lot of our current state online. For example, my kids have found Tik Toks that explain social distancing. Also, let your kid’s natural curiosity guide them. After a few hours of screen time, your kids will eventually look for things outside the screen to satisfy their curiosity.
You could also use an app to separate educational apps (i.e. podcasts, audio books) with gaming apps. This will ensure that your kids are using some of their screen time for educational purposes.
If you have split families with kids going back and forth, are there any special strategies?
The best thing to do is to just talk about the situation openly and respectfully with family members. Open communication is key.
Do you have any ideas on how to keep every day new and exciting?
There are plenty of opportunities to take something small and make it fun. Try these examples to help break up the monotony of quarantine life:
- Daily music playlists
- Themed days
- GoNoodle - great for dance parties and exercise
- Dinner specials
- Outdoor walks/exercise
Advice for other teachers that are working from home?
It’s helpful to connect with your students. Just checking in to see how they’re doing/feeling will make a huge impact.
Also, switching to electronic submission will make at home schoolwork more convenient for students and teachers. One drawback to moving things electronically is the question of how we can cater students that don't have access to internet. We don't have all the answers right now, but we will continue to figure out how all students can have accessibility to at home schoolwork.
How do you handle disappointment in kids?
If you go back and look at the 1919 Stanley Cup, they called off the series because of the Spanish Flu outbreak. It was disappointing for those hockey players and fans. We can understand and feel that disappointment, but we should recognize that it was a brave decision. Much like the 1919 Stanley Cup, we’re all doing this to be brave and to focus on public health.
It’s ok to feel sad, but the best thing to do is to encourage family members to talk about those feelings.
Parents, it’s also important that you take care of your own mental and physical health. Once you take care of yourself, you’ll be able to effectively take care of others.
Resources For Parents
PODCASTS FOR KIDS
(Of course, these shows have big archives of past episodes. Also, the Kids Listen app is helpful for younger kids, since it curates a selection of kid-oriented podcasts.)
- Brains On - fun science learning
- Wow in the World - this one drives me slightly crazy, but my kids love it
- Chompers - two minutes twice a day with interesting topics to listen during tooth brushing
- Stories Podcast - stories for kids read aloud (the one with a green dragon icon)
- Classics for Kids – classical music for kids that incorporates history, listening skills
- Tumble - great science podcast made here in Austin, Texas
- Book Club for Kids - better for middle school kids, good as inspiration for finding books they might enjoy
- Noodle Loaf - singing, dancing music podcast
- Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls - Biographies of women who’ve overcome challenges to accomplish great things. Not just for girls!
- Playing with Science - science and sports, including lots of physics and statistics
SOCIAL CONNECTION GAMES
Social connection through games has been important for our kids. If kids are playing on devices, they can keep an audio line open while they play. That lets them socialize while they play (for example, have a FaceTime audio call open in the background).
- Game Pigeon - is a great set of simple games (20 questions, checkers, Uno, etc.) to play with older relatives or younger kids. It’s an app you install and then the games are played via messages. Our kids have been playing a lot with their grandparents and younger cousins.
- Chess Kid - ChessKid.com is a free and safe app (& website) that enables kids to play chess against their friends.
MOST LIBRARIES HAVE (FREE!) ELECTRONIC BOOK LENDING
Many library systems use an app called LIBBY. You plug in your library card number and you can borrow adult and kids books (as well as audiobooks). You can read/listen within the Libby app or you can send directly to your Kindle app or device. The items you borrow are automatically returned when your borrowing period is up (no late fees!).
Our kids also have the LIBBY app on their devices, so they can choose books to borrow. (We’re all under my library card, since they didn’t yet have their own cards.)
SETTING UP A CHILD’S ID ON IPHONE, IPAD, or IPOD TOUCH
If your child has their own Apple device, Apple suggests that they sign in under their own ID. (When you go through the steps below, there is a specific option for kids under 13.)
There are two main advantages to kids having their own Apple ID:
- You can use Family Sharing to manage their screen time, security, and access to apps.
- If you want, they can FaceTime or Message family and friends directly (rather than borrowing your phone!). Once you have their ID set up, go to Settings -> Screen time -> Communication Limits to limit who they are able to contact.
TIP: We chose fun, memorable, and easy to spell @icloud.com addresses for our kids, since they’ll be giving it out to family and friends.
- Go to Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing > Add Family Member > Create a Child Account > Next. ...
- Enter your child's birthday and tap Next. ...
- Review the Parent Privacy Disclosure and tap Agree.
- Enter the requested information for your payment method and tap Next.
After you set up the AppleID, you’ll need to log out of the device and log back in using the new ID. In Settings, you click on your name at the very top and there is a “Sign Out” option at the bottom.
If you have crucial data on the device, you want to make sure everything is properly backed up to iCloud (though iTunes, iBooks, and App Store are automatically shared across all connected Family Sharing accounts). Our kids’ random pictures are in the cloud associated with my ID, so they no longer appear on their devices. For us, that wasn’t a big deal.
PATTERN FOR KIDS WHO WANT TO SEW FACE MASKS
As cloth, we washed and sanitized outgrown baby clothes (we’re trying to buy as little as possible). My younger daughter traced and cut the patterns, and her older brothers did the sewing.
We sent the finished products to our grandparents and senior relatives, with the very important caveat that a cloth mask provides very limited protection. No mask, particularly a cloth one, should cause anyone to let down your guard as far as social distancing (https://www.livescience.com/cloth-masks-coronavirus.html). That said, it helped the kids feel useful and it made their grandparents feel loved.