A Smorgasbord of Tips to Keep Your Kids Engaged, Learning and Connected During Home Isolation.
Note: This article is cross-posted on two of my blog sites, Frontiers of Psychotherapist Development and Full Circles. While FPD aims to help therapists, and FC is more for a general audience, I figured professionals and parents might equally benefit from this.
Click on the buttons below to receive an entire list of ideas to engage your kids during this pandemic that has affected all across the world…plus more relevant resources to dig in a little further!
When we were having our first child, we decided that we are going to enlist the help of a Doula. “Do-what?” you might say. Here’s an explainer.
The way I saw it, she was like our personal coach and companion before, during and after the birthing process, a critical bridgecrossing phase.
What we learned about our doula Catherine was that not only did she have 4 kids, they were all homeschooled!
Maybe your reaction is like my wife and I. How is that humanly possible to home school a kid 24/7, let alone 4?!
I can imagine Catherine’s response to us neophytes at trying to homeschool our kids during this outbreak. Truth is, from what I’ve understood from Catherine and reading books on homeschooling (e.g., I highly recommend Brave Learner by Julie Bogart or check out this website), what the majority of us are doing is nowhere near what homeschooling really is about. It’s more like “isolated” schooling. The “home” in homeschooling is not confined to our place of residence. It’s much more expansive than outsiders might think (If you are interested, read more about Jonathan Holt’s views on homeschooling..
But this doesn’t mean that we should throw our hands up. What are going to do stuck at home with our kids during this pandemic? Maybe you might be confronted with feeling inadequate as a parent, but the truth is, parenting is less like a fixed classical music piece with musical sheets to follow, but more like a jazz improvisational jam; you never know what’s come next.
When I first read Jonathan Holt’s seminal book, How Children Learn, I remember one of the early advice in his writing was “to trust kids.” This could not be further from my educational experience growing up in Singapore. Schools told you what to learn. What Holt, and perhaps more Montessori-typed schools promote is to be child-directed.
But if you dig a little further, Maria Montessori said,
”Follow your child, but follow your child as his leader.”
There is no other more important thing for parent(s) to take the lead than during a critical crisis period that has swept the world. We have to “follow your child” and their curiosity, but also dance in this fragile balance of exercising leadership.
I argue that the leadership we need as parents is to design our home environments that nurtures not only the mind, but also feed the soul with how they experience humanity and the world around us. (While we try to juggle working from home and caring for others, be it elderly parents and young ones).
The last few weeks, my family and I, like many others around the world, have been in home isolation. My wife and younger child developed symptoms of fever and cough, and the only prudent thing to do was to self-isolate for the next few weeks. We don’t know if it’s COVID-19, as they do not meet the criteria for testing, but speaking to our GP on a telehealth consult was reassuring.
We are all homeschoolers now.
Like it or not, we are all homeschoolers now. As a recent article states, this pandemic “will bring about an education reevaluation, if not revolution” of how our education system.
Majority of the ideas in this list to keep your kids engaged, learning and connected during these home-bound times were “guinea pigged” in our family of four, with our 6 and 3-year-olds. Some were figured out along the way, and many were grafted from resources I’ve picked up across the years (see below for some of the good ones), and others were employed through the years in my work with families as a therapist.
If you would like to have a buffet of ideas to engage your kids, moving beyond just “isolated” schooling and borrow some of the richness of homeschooling during this period of home isolation, click on the link below to get your FREE guide.