Back to school 2020 may look a lot different this year for some of us. If you’re a parent putting on the additional hat of “teacher” this year, I’ve got some tips for setting up your homeschool environment for success!
Setting a routine, especially during times of uncertainty like now, is so important to help kids stay regulated and get through their daily tasks! A visual schedule or a to-do list allows a child to see their day at a glance and know what to expect. Give them control by allowing them to check off the tasks that they have completed. Being “done” with a task can give them a sense of pride and motivation to keep moving forward with the day.
We ALL need breaks! It’s important to allow kids time to move and play throughout the day! Incorporate 20 minutes of play time into their schedules at least 2-3 times during the “school” day. Movement breaks should be given often! Attention span only lasts 2-3 minutes per year (of a child’s age), so adding movement in between sustained attention tasks is necessary to get through the school day.
Teaching emotional regulation is important. See my previous post on how we can do that. I LOVE the Zones of Regulation program because for so many kids I work with it’ s hard to understand the abstract concept of different emotions and the Zones really puts feelings into a more concrete and comprehensible format. If your child is having tantrums, meltdowns, easily “breaking down,” refusing or avoiding tasks, or seems easily distracted or flustered, teaching them how to identify, express, and manage emotions can help.
Make a cozy space in your home! Any small space will do, such as a corner in a room or a more defined space using a tent. Add a bean bag, pillows, or blankets. Reduce sensory stimulation by blocking out lots of light, distracting items, and sounds that may be overwhelming. Add stress or squeeze balls, weighted items, calming music, putty, a journal or drawing materials, and/or a calming stuffed animal. Complete the space with emotions and calming cards/visuals to remind your child how to calm down. Educate them about the space and how to use it. **On a side note, the DeveloPLAY Box (COMING SOON) is a subscription box filled with sensory tools for children which would be the PERFECT addition to a calming space. Subscribe now for early updates and a lifetime discount on the box by clicking here!**
While some may require a sturdy chair and desk with their hips, knees, and ankles at 90 degrees for proper ergonomics, others may need alternative seating options throughout the day to help sustain attention. Try different seating (or laying) options and see which fits your child’s learning style the best!
Sending you all the positive vibes for virtual learning to start off your school year!