Posted Mar 17, 2020
We are in the midst of trying times. The Coronavirus pandemic has upended our daily lives. From school and business closings to empty store shelves and self-quarantines, life is quite different than it was just a few weeks ago. The previously unheard terms “COVID – 19” and “social distancing” - are now part of the daily conversation. Uncertainty is the new norm. It’s challenging enough for us to find our way through this, but how do we help children cope?
Experts offer these tips
- Know the facts. Sort through the misinformation. It is important to have accurate information and share it with children in age appropriate terms. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides updated information on their website.
- Monitor internet and media so children don’t become too overwhelmed by COVID - 19 coverage.
- Remain calm and positive when talking about the pandemic. Reassure that much is being done to keep people safe and healthy. What may seem disruptive to them is meant to protect us all.
- Teach them how to stay healthy including proper handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow, and keeping safe distances. Children need to feel they have some control over their situation.
- Listen to their fears. Let them know it’s normal to feel anxiety during stressful times. Encourage them to talk about it and be available to listen.
- Try to stick to a schedule and routines as much as possible whether it’s a bedtime ritual or Friday movie and popcorn night. Predictable routines provide a sense of security children need to thrive.
- Model the behaviors you want them to follow
While protecting children's physical and emotional well-being is a top priority, weeks of closed schools present another huge challenge for most parents. Fortunately, there are some basic steps and countless resources to help keep your children learning.
- Check your school’s website for guidance. Most schools are providing some type of virtual learning activities or recommended projects and resources. Information for the Shorewood Public Schools can be found here.
- Create a schedule for at-home learning that includes study sessions, recess breaks, physical activity and creative activities. Some structure will create a sense of safety and stability.
- Let your child play a role in designing their learning experiences whether it’s choosing a project from a number of options or prioritizing subjects.
- Make screen time meaningful. There are many high-quality, educational screen-based resources. Some are linked below. Watching tv shows and movies or playing online games can be part of the day, but that time should be limited as it is during a regular school day.
- Take advantage of this time to explore hands-on learning. For children, anything that keeps their minds active and open results in learning. Science experiments, cooking, building, observing nature, and household chores can all be learning experiences that also build confidence and life skills. Remember, for kids play is also learning.
Resources for Learning
While the public libraries may be closed, our online resources are available 24/7. You can access information data bases and magazines, download e-books and audiobooks, and even learn a language with your library card. Fines and overdue materials will not block your access to any online tools.
Many other educational companies are offering free subscriptions during the pandemic. Find a list of them here.
While travel is currently discouraged you and your children can take virtual fieldtrips to zoos, art museums, aquariums and more.
Families with K-12 or college students who do not have internet access may be eligible for Spectrum's free 60 day service.
The library staff looks forward to serving you in-person. In the meantime, stay safe, be well, and together we will get through this difficult time.