The idea of adding items to your kid’s remote learning routine can feel daunting (because frankly it means you are adding items to your routine). If you barely have time to swipe on a half-hearted attempt at mascara or throw on a clean outfit before diving into your work, life, and personal to-dos, adding versus removing tasks can seem arduous. These short, sweet, repeatable activities will save your kid’s routine and your own sanity by creating a bit of predictability and expectation within the day and week. Very young kiddo’s can’t tell time so having repeatable elements in their daily and weekly routine provides comfort and calm. For your sake, creating short 5-10 minute activities or events in a day for you and your child to participate in can help your kiddo enjoy your attention predictably and consistently so they don’t spend all their waking hours trying to get that attention. We’re exploring short, sweet, repeatable activities to save your kid’s remote learning routine so you feel like a fab parent, your kiddo feels participatory, and your child is more able to work and play independently during times you need to work on other tasks.
Sidewalk Chalk Walk
- Do a set/scheduled 5-10 minute sidewalk chalk walk: Grab the sidewalk chalk & a mask and hit the road. A quick spin around the block changes the energy of the day and a bit of fresh air and sunshine does wonders. Create a sidewalk chalk mission before heading out. You can choose to explore letters (each day or for one whole week write a letter of the alphabet and draw things that begin with that letter) numbers (write numbers 1-10, then say a number and your kiddo has to jump on that number, the following week do 1-20) weather (draw a sunshine if it’s sunny, clouds if it’s cloudy) etc.
- Physical challenge: Choose a time every day that you drop everything and do a 5-10 minute physical challenge. Stand up, head to a designated spot in the room, do a quick, repeatable warm up (stretch arms up, touch your toes, repeat, shake your whole body, take a deep breath, and go) You choose a challenge for you and your kiddo to do (30 jumping jacks, 20 push ups, 10 burpees, etc.) and your kiddo then chooses theirs (run to the kitchen and back as fast as possible, hop on one foot 20 times, anything works!)
- Freeze Dance: it’s the easiest and funnest 3 minute activity. Pop a song on and set the rules – when the music is on we dance and when it stops we freeze!
Reading time: we tend to be aware of reading aloud to our kiddos before bed, but it can be a great tool during the day to refocus your child’s attention and help them explore letters and literacy. Creating a 5-10 minute reading time any time during the day is lovely, but specifically reading post lunch is nice transition from morning to afternoon.
- Letter writing & mailing: this can be a daily or weekly activity. Sit with your kiddo, help them write a letter (this can range from their dictating the text your write or your helping them sound out and write their own text) to a friend or family member. Kiddos can then decorate their letter before you collectively go through the ritual of addressing, sealing and applying a stamp to the envelope and taking a trip to the mailbox to drop it off.
Playing with Food
- Food Fun: kids love baking, parents may not. If you are pinterest-worthy bread baker adding a weekly baking project helps kiddos explore math concepts and fundamental focus-building in a fun and tactile way. If, on the other hand, the thought of turning your oven on cues an eye roll, dial this activity back to easy. Each week snag a special treat (M&M’s, Skittles, jelly beans, gummies, colorful cereal) and let your child do a sorting exercise. Take a minute to either create or work together to create a work space (i.e. a piece of paper where you draw a red circle, orange circle, yellow circle, etc.) and pour your weekly treat into a bowl. Kiddos can work on sorting the colors. At the end they can count their sorted colors. As a victory prize, they can enjoy some of their delicious sorting supplies.
Choice time: Set the timer on your phone and each day at the same time your kiddo gets to choose one activity that you do together – board game, play with dolls, roll a ball, monster truck race – the key is that they get to make the decision and get to enjoy the pure joy that is a parent being completely up for anything they suggest.
The brilliant thing here is in how completely not brilliant these suggestions are. They are simple and obvious, but it’s easy to forget to incorporate things like this into your day-to-day because at first blush it feels like extra work or time taxed upon an already maxed out schedule. Try incorporating these short activities into your kid’s remote learning routine. Stick with the overarching concept: set activities through out the day, at specified times, 5-10 minutes each. The predictability they provide and the simple joy they offer are a big pay-off relative to how little time and effort it takes to complete them.