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Whether you’re scrambling to create a homeschooling schedule to keep your kids learning while they’re cooped up inside, or you’ve decided to give yourself grace and take it one day at a time, we’ve put together our best tips and ideas to make surviving a school closure as painless as possible.

 

1. Maintain routines.

The first step is to keep the structure of the day the same as it has typically been. Not only will it be familiar and easy to follow, but maintaining a regular schedule will give you firm guideposts for building your work and childcare schedules. Plan your day in blocks so that your schedule remains flexible. Some ways to do so are:

A partner swap: 4-hour shifts in which one partner works and the other cares for kids.

Video shifts: While you’ll still need to be paying some attention, it’s possible, especially with older kids, to organize calls with grandparents that will keep them entertained while you’re getting in a phone call or doing some heads-down work.

Virtual playdates: Send Google Hangout invites to your kids’ friends’ parents. For the playdate itself, have a station set up in your house with a tablet or laptop ready to go. During the playdate, it can be as simple as the kids catching up and colouring together or following an activity on Youtube kids.

Pro-tip: A wireless speaker with a built-in microphone can help keep your call station neat and hands-free.

 

2. Setting Goals

Now that your child is home all the time, doesn’t mean that you have to (nor can you) be on watch 24/7. In fact, the activities during full HBL are designed to allow students to complete them independently as much as possible.  You can continue to support your child by providing a conducive environment at home. Take this opportunity to train good habits and initiative in your kids.

Work out a daily schedule/routine with your child and guide your child in setting goals and scheduling tasks. For further tips on guiding your child in setting goals, you can refer to the Resilience Boosters at https://go.gov.sg/selresforparents.

Another way to ensure routines are followed is to turn up the tunes at mealtimes. Not only is it a cue for the family to gather, but it livens up the dinner table for conversations to flow easily too. If you’ve got a Sonos speaker at home, you can even set alarm reminders for mealtimes in each room!

 

3. Stay Social

Being alone doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone! Staying connected can help both you and your kids recharge and easily utilise of resources too.

Parent pools: Find a group of 3-4 other families you’re close with and create a shared pool of resources, whether it’s meal plans, activity schedules, or lesson plans.

Creative athletic activities for the kids. Register your kids for free online classes like Cosmic Yoga, Art Hub for Kids, or Go Noodle. Schedule these during the times they might otherwise be doing after-school activities. They should get some exercise every day — this could even be just going into the backyard and do some soccer drills or play catch.

Book club or sports viewing nights for you. Staying social, active, and connected is just as important for adults. If you don’t already have one, create a book club or a sport/TV show viewing club. Get it into people’s calendars and set up a video call so everyone can watch together. Make sure to still get your workouts in with a run outside, an indoor circuit, or using online options. Even a family walk around the block will do wonders.

You can get the most out of your sports game when you have a quality sound system too! A good home theatre system can bring the stadium atmosphere right to your living room couch. 

It may be tough to accept that things are not going to run completely smoothly and we aren’t going to all be our 100% productive selves. But with tempered expectations, a flexible approach and resourcefulness, you’ll be amazed at how we can all adapt. With any luck, we’ll emerge from this crisis even stronger and more collaborative: a modern take on an age-old approach to parenting.

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