(pulsating music) (upbeat music) – Hi, everyone, I'm Dr.
Nicole Assisi, and I am here today withmy colleague Shelli Kurth in our next installmenton “How to Stay Sane “in These Times ofUnprecedented Parenting.
” – Together, Nicole andI have over 30 years of working in education asteachers and as leaders, but our most importantjob, and our favorite, is we are working parents.
So we are now actuallyhomeschooling parents trying to juggle workand family all at once.
Our goals for these weeklysessions are to provide you with tools and resources tokeep your learner thriving and to keep you sane.
– Indeed, and on thatnote, congratulations.
You have made it through yet another week of homeschooling and distance learning.
Give yourself some kudos for that.
For some of you, it's beeneasier, for some of us, harder.
But hopefully we'll give yousome practical tips today on how to make those weekseven more harmonious and sane.
And part of what we'll talk about today is building routines and schedules.
And more specifically, we'lltalk about keeping routines, managing school time, and give you some ideas for how to structure your days so that screen time isn't your only go-to.
Though in these days, definitely an acceptable go-to.
Let's not be hard on ourselves.
So we'll talk about some fun ideas.
And to kick us off, let'stalk about routines, Shelli.
– Probably the best way tomake your days go smoother is to establish a routine.
This might mean waking upat the same time every day, going to bed at the same time every day.
This'll make things easier on you, and much easier whenthings go back to normal and your child returns to school.
Keeping a routine is the bestway to make days feel shorter.
It provides a little bit more structure, and it just will go more smoothly.
But remember, be flexible.
You're gonna have to be flexible.
You're not going to be ableto follow this same schedule exactly to a tee every day because things come up.
Be easy on yourself, justremember, establish a routine, but be flexible with it as needed.
Make sure you give your kidssome autonomy in scheduling.
It's a long day for them, too.
Make sure that they have some choices and that they feel someownership of the way that the day is going.
Brainstorm some funthings to fill time with.
I have some friends whohave a big jar of ideas, and they add ideas to the jarswhenever they think of 'em, and their kids pull out anidea whenever they're feeling like there's nothing to do orif they have some free time.
Little kids like a menu of choices.
That's a great idea, too.
Write down some choicesof things they can do and they can choose from that menu.
Don't forget to add in yourroutines, the daily things that we have to do like cooking, laundry, cleaning your room, all of those things.
That's part of your day andcan be part of the routine.
Make sure you have lots ofbreaks, lots of downtime.
Here's my daughter'sroutine and her schedule that we go through in the day.
She has something called me time, where she gets to do whatever she wants.
So one thing I am not afraidof, and I encourage you to not be afraid of, is letting your kids get bored sometimes, it's okay.
The struggle is real, especiallybecause we have our kids so scheduled most of the time.
But from boredom, someamazing things can blossom.
You will see your childrenstarting to get creative.
Ingenuity will really bloomif you give some downtime and maybe give them a little chance to be bored now and then.
One of the things also that I like to do is to give myself threepriorities in a day.
Our family puts sticky notesand we write down three things that we really wanna get done each day.
Here is mine for the day.
This is Elsa's, too.
Hey, three things ispretty easy to accomplish, so we always have a reason to celebrate, and we always feelproductive and successful.
I think in these days wherethings feel looser than normal, having some priorities andwriting down what you wanna do can be really effective.
And be sure to model some selfcare in those priority lists.
I think that it's importantthat we give our kids the chance to take care ofthemselves and that we model that by naming that it's important that we take care of ourselves, too.
There's a lot of thingsthat we can throw in and put into our routines eachday, and we're gonna dig in and talk about a littlebit more in detail.
Nicole? – Yeah, let's actuallystart with school schedules.
I think by now we haveall had a moment of going, my child's teacher is a saint.
Because they do this five days a week, 180 days a year, withabout 25 or more students.
And here we are one, two, three, maybe four kids.
Hopefully, like some of myfriends, you've had a moment of going, wow, my kidjust learned so much.
I'm doing a really great job.
Because you really are.
And in those moments, extend some grace to your child's teacher, because sometimes working one on one can be easier in terms of the amount of workthat you can get done.
It can sometimes also be more challenging because you don't havea peer group to rely on.
But what you're nottrying to do is recreate a seven-hour school day.
Maybe by this time your school has sent you some work to complete.
As you look at that list, we wanna share some research with you from whatrecommended times are in terms of how much time you shouldbe spending on schoolwork.
60 minutes for Pre-K, 90minutes for kindergarten to second grade, about 120minutes for upper elementary.
Middle school, about 180.
And for high school, it's 270 minutes.
Now, during that time, don't try to boil the ocean.
Our State Superintendentof Public Instruction actually has said that he will, quote, hold kids harmless.
What that means is thatstudents will not be punished or have negative impacts on their grades or on their graduationbased on what they can and cannot get done duringthis time of quarantine.
That means make the most of it.
Leverage learningopportunities and moments, but also be gentle withyourself and with your family.
Times at home can create a lot of stress.
It is hard to be a teacher, especially if you've never hadthe experience of teaching.
So here are a couple ofthings to think about, especially if you have a younger student.
You just saw a minute agoShelli's older child's schedule.
She was able to write that by herself.
My son is in kindergarten.
I created a visual schedule so that David can navigate his scheduleas he goes through the day.
That way if I have to pick up a phone call for work or something else happens, he's not totally stopped in his tracks.
He can look at his visual schedule, he can figure out something else to do.
In our house, he's allowedto move through that schedule in any order he wantsto, but he can always look for the picturesand get some things done.
So that's just anotheridea to make the list a little easier on youso that you don't feel like you have to be on andteaching the whole entire time.
Share that list with your kids.
– One of the things thatI think is important to put into your routine is exercise.
Exercise, it's so important forhealth, for mood, for focus, which is actually evenmore important right now.
Keeping ourselves healthy and strong will help us get through this sanely.
So how are you supposed to get exercise when you're stuck at home? It's the big question, right? Well, some of us are luckyenough to live in an environment where we can and stillare allowed to go outside, take a walk around theblock, take a bike ride, so long as we're keepingsocially distance.
So take advantage.
If you have the weatherand you have the place that you can do that, make sureyou take advantage of that.
But if you can't, and I knowthere are a lot of people who cannot do that, thereare lots of online options.
For kids there is CosmicKids Yoga, there is GoNoodle.
Some of my favorites.
And for adults and kids, there are a plethora of free options right now.
Coaches and trainers andgyms have been so generous in offering their services.
I know Planet Fitness is doing that.
CorePower Yoga is doing that.
Fitness Blender is offering free things, and many instructors ontheir YouTube channels.
It makes it easy to dothat exercise at home.
But I don't always wanna be on the screen, and so we do silly thingsthat don't require a screen and don't even require a lot of space.
We have dance parties.
So we play the freeze dancewhere I turn the music on and often we dancelike crazy when it's on and freeze when it's off.
We have balloon volleyball games which is always a crowd favorite.
And my favorite thing, and weactually do this every day, is we have a challenge gamewhere we challenge each other to how many push-ups or how many sit-ups we can do in a minute, or how many jumpingjacks in three minutes.
Have fun with it, get our bodies moving.
If our bodies are moving, our brains are healthier.
That body-brain connectionis so important, and perhaps even more important right now when we're feeling anxious inside.
Get out, get moving.
– So just like you want to exercise sort of your physical body, you need to exercise your mental body.
And maybe this is thetime where your child will finally fall in love with reading.
We know that reading's been on the decline due to technology, but researchstill shows that reading is the number one skilland success indicator for kids getting into college and being successful in college.
So how do you build a reading habit? How do you even access books when you sometimes can't leave your house? Our favorite resource, if you have not stumbled upon it, is Libby.
Now, Libby is the online library system.
You can download bothaudiobooks and digital books.
And research actuallyshows that the retention of audio books and writtenbooks that you read is almost equivalent.
So great way to get access tosome books is through Libby.
As you look at books for your child, don't dismiss graphic novels.
There's really greatreading, it builds the habit, it builds the muscle of reading.
And for younger students, oneof the resources that I use that I really love is Story Online.
It is actors from the Screen Actors Guild coming and reading theirfavorite children's story.
So not only do they sortof show you the book that they're reading, but thevoiceover is just phenomenal and a really, really greattool, so stay reading.
Another fun idea could be to network with some of your child's friend and do some reader's theater.
What that is is that you pick a book, and students read differentsections of a book, take on different charactersand read it together.
My son's school is actuallyreading “Harry Potter” and so they call it theHogwarts Acting School, and every Wednesday, they get online and they read “Harry Potter.
” So much fun, find a way tofall in love with books.
Snuggle up with a blanket, get cozy and read, read, read.
– Building that reading into your routines and your schedules is so important.
And I think, equally important, and reading helps with this, turn off the screens atsome point during your day.
Turn off the news.
All that disruptionthat's happening right now makes it frightening, gives anxiety and anxiousness to a lot of people.
And those screens areoften, and the news is often filled with terrible thingswe don't always wanna hear.
So make time where allthose screens are off and you're just communicatingwith your kiddo.
Give them opportunities to talk about whatever's on their mind.
And I like to ask someopen-ended questions.
I think it's the best wayto get my kids talking.
Some of the questions that Ithink are really fun to ask are things like what madeyou laugh out loud today.
And then I have toremember to let them answer and have no judgment, because sometimes I want them to say something specific, and they won't.
You know, I have a teenager.
So just remember, listen without judgment and ask those open-ended questions.
Turn off the TV and have timeto connect and communicate that feels real and isn't filled with all of the bad news of the day.
– You know, our lives arebusy, so sometimes connecting can feel awkward at first.
Maybe before you were used to getting home right before bedtime, or maybe sometimes you made it home for dinner.
And now you have more time.
And that time can be both stressful, but it can also be a gift.
So some ways to turn that time into a gift is to think of some funand silly things to do.
And the burden of comingup with those things does not need to solelyrest on your shoulders.
Even our youngest learnerscan help and brainstorm fun things for the family to do.
And that can range from fun art projects, to cooking something funand getting creative.
It can be learning a new hobby.
Maybe you had a dream ofalways traveling to France, and maybe you wanna learn French.
Do something fun.
And to bring it all together, we've actually linked for you this document that you can see right here that lets you put yourwhole schedule together.
You sort of have the blocksof times that have to happen.
You give some structure, and you create some choice.
And you create a list ofthings that you wanna do.
Finish that puzzle that'sbeen sitting in your closet.
Put together LEGOS.
Maybe you wanna do an art project.
List them out so thatyou don't need to always come up with it on the spot.
Shelli was talking about ajar that has ideas in it.
Also a really great way.
List on there connectingwith grandparents.
Maybe this is the timeto teach them to use Zoom or find some other toolsto connect with folks.
But just try to find somejoy, try to find ways that you can see the time as a gift.
Because while we don'twanna get too ambitious, we wanna make the most of the time that we have with our families.
So again, if you watched our first video, Shelli had to start bysort of taking a breath.
And that's really important, because when we forget tobreathe, we create more anxiety, and so breathe and pause andtry to find some fun things and fun ways to connect with your family.
– I love that we just tooka breath, because I think maybe the thing I want you toremember most of all from this is to try easy and give yourself grace.
Social media feeds right now are filled up with parents doing amazing creative things with their kids, projects, experiments.
I've even seen parentsteaching their kids to quilt.
And that is amazing, andI am so proud of parents who are doing that, and soglad that they are having the time and energy andresources to do that.
But that is not all of our families, and you have to remember, do what's right for you and your family.
Don't get into that Pinterest mindset where you feel like it has tobe the most creative things, or that you're trying to compete with that person on social media.
Remember, take this time, make it yours.
Do what fits for your life.
And remember, justcreate a flexible routine and just try to stick with it.
But you might not get to.
But create it and cross your fingers that you can stick with it a little bit.
Manage your day by prioritizing and including a lot offun things in there.
Make time to communicateand connect, and try easy.
Be easy on yourself, give yourself grace.
These are strange times indeed, so I think that if we all give each other a breakand remind ourselves to give ourselves a break, we're all in this together.
– Thanks, everyone, for joining us.