How to Keep Kids Thriving During the COVID-19 Crisis
With Coronavirus shutting down both schools and offices, parents face a brand-new challenge: educating and entertaining their children while working from home.
In this strange time, it’s hard to give kids the attention they need. And it’s even harder to keep them interested in schoolwork. But as a mother, a home-school teacher and a therapist, I’ve developed some tips that I think will help you and your kids. Read the ideas below, then download our daily worksheet
to help you stay on track and make this an ultra-productive time.
One quick note—although these tips are designed for kids with autism and other behavioral challenges, you’ll find that they work for neurotypical kids, too.
Create goals every day.
Every morning, spend a few moments setting goals for the day. This accomplishes two important things. First, it creates an outline for the day, making sure that your child’s time is spent wisely. And just as importantly, it means that at the end of the day, you and your child can “cross things off your list” and feel a sense of achievement. (This is especially important when you’re not leaving the house, so that the days don’t blur together.)
Learn your child’s preferences.
No two children are the same. Every child has a way they like to learn and a way they like to be rewarded. So as you’re helping your child with schoolwork, pay close attention to the environment, time of day and style in which they learn most effectively. Also, think about what rewards seem to motivate them. For example, if your child is constantly chattering and trying to make eye contact with you, she probably prefers attention as a reward. So tell her: “If you can study this for 10 minutes, I’ll spend 10 minutes with you, just the two of us, talking and telling jokes.” These rewards are your child’s “reinforcers”—their favorite things that motivate them to stay focused.
Set clear expectations.
In times like these, it’s important to keep a schedule and establish clear expectations with your child. You can think about it this way: your job as a parent is to help structure your child’s day. Your child’s job is to learn and grow. While some kids may complain about these expectations, deep down they appreciate the predictability that you’re bringing to their day.
Most of all, try to stay positive, and remember: you can do this. Believe you can make it happen and then put these ideas into action to make that a reality.
Download the Worksheet here:
Do you have questions about this process? Download our daily worksheet, and if you’re uncertain about what to do, please contact us. We’re all in this together!