As our public officials and communities grapple with containing COVID-19, children and caregivers are dealing with an entirely new hurdle: distance learning. Below you will find practical information and resources on supporting your kids with distance learning, keeping them healthy, and talking to them about COVID-19 as the situation evolves.
Check here for a comprehensive list of local up-to-date COVID-19 resources.
Supporting Your Students
The CDC provides information on how COVID-19 affects children, and how we can best care for them while they adjust to their at-home classrooms. Below are a few key points of guidance. You can find the original post here.
Create a schedule and routine that works for you and your child
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests creating a schedule and routine for your student’s at-home school day, but try to remain flexible.
- Have consistent wake-up and bedtimes during the school week
- Include breaks for physical activity, healthy snacks and meals throughout the day, and free time
For additional guidance on creating a schedule, see this post from Dr. Stephanie Burroughs, educator and K-12 administrator in the Massachusetts Department of Education.
Use educational resources
There is a wealth of resources on the internet for at-home learning. The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has put together a comprehensive list of online resources to help parents support their children’s education during this period.
RIDE’s resource is an excel spreadsheet, organized in tabs based on the class. The tabs have learning tools and ideas in subjects from math, English and social sciences to art and computer science. You can find the spreadsheet here.
- Use online resources for read-along stories and storytelling from Growing Book by Book
- See this list of live stream activities for kids. The list has live streams from guitar, history, art, science, and movement.
Look for ways to make learning fun
This is a difficult time for all of us. Try to be creative and infuse some fun into your child’s school day.
- Hands-on activities are important, such as building blocks for construction projects, do-it-yourself art projects, and even puzzles
- Encourage independent play that engages critical thinking skills, such as building a fort from sheets or stacking blocks to practice counting and creating different structures
- Take your child on a virtual field trip — take a look through zoos, museums, and cultural sites around the world
- Watch children’s writer Mo Willems’ daily doodles and challenge your children to create their own doodle
- Encourage writing skills by starting a journal with your child to document their experience of school closures due to COVID-19
Arts Education at Home
Disney is now offering The Lion King Experience: At Home, an arts-education curriculum designed that students can learn on their own, at their own pace, at home! Guides are provided for children ages 8-11 and 12-15. You can download the instructions from lionkingexperience.com.
Save the Children, the largest non-profit humanitarian organization focusing on children has launched a daily Instagram storytelling series called “Save with Stories.” Every day, well-known actors, writers, and musicians read stories for kids. Check it out here.
Keep them Healthy
Your family’s physical, mental, and emotional health are always important. The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have provided information on how to deal with stress, anxiety, and coping with social distancing, isolation, and the COVID-19 crisis:
- CDC on Stress and Coping
- CDC on Taking Care of Your Mental Health
- WHO on Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Community Care Alliance remains open and serving our communities. You can access important services by calling the phone numbers below or visit their website for more information.
- Children’s care intake line: (401) 235-7181
- Emergency services: (401) 235-7120
- Mental and Behavioral Health, Addictions Treatment, Counseling: (401) 235-7121
Teach and model preventative care
Kids learn from parents just as much (if not more) as from their teachers. That’s why it is important to help our kids take preventative measures like handwashing.
- Teach your kids how to wash their hands and remind them to do it frequently
- Make a family activity out of teaching how to properly wash hands
- Lead by example and be a good role model – wash your hands often!
Help your child stay active
Physical activity is extremely important for mental and emotional wellbeing, and it is great for focus.
- Take a walk or bike ride with your kids
- Encourage your kids to take breaks throughout the day and get moving – do some quick yoga, follow a dance class, or join a workout challenge and post your child’s challenge to your social media
It’s hard to focus at school sometimes, and it’s hard to focus at home, too! We know that physical activity and movement helps improve focus, so try some of these quick videos to get your children moving:
The GoNoodle app also has great movement-based computer games for kids to play while helping them get active. You can download the app through this link: https://www.gonoodle.com/blog/gonoodle-games-movement-app-for-kids/
Along with our physical bodies, our mental and emotional health needs care, too. You can find some tips for maintaining hope, finding and receiving support, and staying positive here.
Taking a moment to pause, breathe, and relax, can make a big difference. You can share these videos with your kids to help them build mindfulness and as a way to de-stress during the day:
Help your child stay connected
It’s important for all of us to stay connected right now. Try to keep your kids engaged with friends and family through online games, video chats, or calling.
- Download the Marco Polo app and start sharing videos of the family
- Write letters to friends and family members (this is also a great way to practice writing and grammar!)
Talking to your kids about COVID-19
The National Association of School Psychologists has created a document of resources and information for parents on how to talk to your children about Coronavirus. It is available in both English and Spanish. This comic from National Public Radio made specifically for kids may be a great jumping-off point for these conversations.
The CDC agrees that the most important themes in talking to kids about coronavirus are to share accurate information, reassure them that they are safe, and emphasize how your family can help contain the spread of the virus.
- Share age-appropriate facts and correct any misinformation you hear from your kids
- This is a balance – kids don’t need to know everything – you don’t want to add to any anxiety. Check the World Health Organization’s myth busters page to give your kids the correct information. Think about how much you think your children need to know about the virus.
- Reassure them they are safe
- It’s easy for us to panic during times of uncertainty, but panic is not good for anyone, especially not kids that are trying to learn. Reassure your kids that they and your family are safe and that their education is still very important during this time.
- Emphasize that your family can help to stop the spread of coronavirus
- Talk about how you and your family can be “germ busters!”
Struggling with internet at home?
Visit this page to see if you are eligible for limited-time free internet from Cox Communications.
Further, to ensure that all Rhode Island students have access to WiFi, the Governor announced that all households that have a smartphone with a WiFi hot spot feature and have cell phone service from the four most common providers in our state – Verizon, AT&, T-Mobile, and Sprint – will be able to activate the hot spot feature for free. There will be no activation fee, no usage fee, and no overage fee. This policy will last until at least May 13.