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Schools Out! What can we do with children at home?

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

When school is out, enjoy time with your family and do things that you don’t typically have time to do. When students return to school, they should have different experiences that may not include academic assignments. Remember that learning happens in different ways and caregivers should be attuned to children/teens needs. Not all activities should include assignments provided by schools. Look at a few things that can be done while at home with children/teens. Be sure to include learning financial literacy, organizational skills, time management, spiritual well-being practices, and exercise.

Family traditions: If you don’t have them already, create some! Each time children/teens are out for a break, do the things like tell stories in pajamas every (insert day), have a neighborhood carnival with homemade games, dinner and a movie, picture taking, family meeting, etc. Children will remember this and pass on the legacy.

Take Field Trips/Stay-cations: Visit places around the city that you have never visited. Choose non-frequented grocery stores, farmers markets, parks, playgrounds, libraries, community centers, fire stations, low cost museums, education centers, art centers, and entertainment venues. Visits can be free or low cost to maximize on experience and save money.

Refresh home economic skills

· Cook: Children/teens can prepare recipes that they enjoy eating. They may also learn to prepare special family dishes that have been passed down. If there are no special family dishes, create some! Although most teens know how to cook individual items, they may not be accustomed to preparing full meals. Have them come up with a menu and prepare those meals during the week. If you are on a budget and don’t have much food, use what you have and come up with creative dishes. Some basic dishes for young children include scrambled and boiled eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, toast, baked potato, toast, sandwiches, (peanut butter/jelly, applesauce, tuna, etc.), macaroni & cheese, steamed vegetables, and spaghetti.

· Clean: You know those base boards you haven’t gotten to, now is a great time to have everyone participate in the cleaning. Teach children/teens to change light bulbs, help change air filters, shampoo the carpet, clean the garage, etc. Teach children to properly sweep, mop, dust, wash dishes by hand, make beds, wash and fold clothes, towels, linens, organize closets, clean the refrigerator, the works! You know your children, so be sure tasks are age appropriate depending on their maturity.

· Hygiene: Well, let’s face it, sometimes they need a little reminder……… Reteach basic practices, brushing teeth, combing hair, bathing, moisturizing, etc. You know the deal!!

Teach table and restaurant etiquette: All children/teens can benefit from proper table etiquette. Many parents don’t know how their children are eating during lunch at school.

Here are a few things that children do at lunch that may surprise you:

· don’t use napkins during lunch,

· share utensils and food already bitten off by other children,

· take food from other’s trays without their permission,

· don’t clean up their spills and leave trash on tables and floors,

· talk with their mouths full, showing food

· talk loudly across the table,

· throw food and trash at each other and on the floor,

· place clothing and unclean objects on tables, and

· lick fingers, touch others, and wipe hands on clothes spreading germs and viruses.

Teaching children/teens proper table and restaurant etiquette will help the restaurant or cafeteria staff with cleaning and maintaining clean surfaces, reduce the spread of germs, and make the overall dining experience more pleasant.

What can be taught? Formal table setting:Although we may not eat formally every day, it’s a good idea to learn what to do with all those forks, knives, and spoons when they attend a formal event. Teach how to set a table and eat at a formal dinner with all 5-10 utensils, glasses, cups and napkins. Teach what should be done when saving a seat, when you don’t want coffee/water/drink/desert/etc. Different cultures practice different etiquette, so understanding what practice to use in the appropriate setting is important. If you don’t know, take a class or watch an instructional video.

Work on a hobby/craft together: If you have a hobby that you enjoy, teach it to your children. There are so many crafts and hobbies that families can do together. If you don’t have a hobby, teach them about your job, especially if you have a crafty or skilled labor job. Hobbies and crafts can later turn into entrepreneurial opportunities.

Plant a garden: This is a perfect time to learn about the environment, how to grow and harvest food, and gain a love and appreciation for the way our earth works. Container gardening is an easy way to plant if you do not have a big yard or no yard at all. If you’re not the gardening type or don’t have a green thumb, that’s ok, encourage your children to start with easy seeds that produce quickly, like salads and herbs. Gardening teaches patience and how to care for living things.

Put down the technology and simply get to know your child(ren): Enough said!!

Families spend many hours apart and miss out on little things that go unnoticed. When you have time to spend with your family, make it count and do things you haven’t had a chance to do because of work and school! If this list doesn’t suit your needs, create or research a list that will increase family bonding time. Make a list, schedule your days, work together, and enjoy your time with your most precious gift, your family!!

Temaria Gray,

Engaged Educational Consultant

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