While it may seem like it’s been forever since we’ve been able to freely go about our business without the coronavirus hovering over our heads, it’s really been “only” a few weeks.
Coming up with new and interesting things to do, in addition to the online classes most students have had to take during this time, has required a lot of creativity.
We can pretty much guarantee that every parent has asked themselves, what should their children be doing with so much free time–at least once, maybe even once a day.
The good news is that even now, with a few weeks under our belts, when you would think that every option has already been tried, there are still many answers to that question.
Quarantine Time is Not Automatically a “Walk in the Park”
It is important to remember that each situation is unique and will have its own circumstances so not all options will be applicable.
Here are some things to consider:
How much actual free time is there?
While it may seem like children should have tons of free time now that they no longer have to go to school each day, that isn’t completely the case.
Many schools have closed down for the school year, but others are still open and they have taken this opportunity to give more project-based work which can require more time than regular schoolwork.
So, it’s possible children have about the same free time or even less free time than when they were physically going to school.
Make sure you discuss with your children how their schoolwork is going before suggesting more things they could possibly be doing with their time.
What are kids already doing?
Tons of children are spending lots of time in front of screens during the day and it can cause very serious mental burnout.
Humans need to take breaks, and so while taking an additional education course may sound like a great idea, it is equally beneficial for students to stop being in front of a computer and go outside or interact with people in person, such as other family members who they are quarantined with.
This is a stressful time.
No one alive today has experienced or gone through quite what people worldwide are currently going through.
If it scares adults, you can imagine how unsettling it is for children. who may be unsure of what exactly is going on and when they can go back to their normal lives.
Their daily routine has been completely upended and no one can give them a clear answer about when they can go back to their “normal” lives.
So, throwing more things on top of what they are already dealing with can make matters even worse.
For older students in high school, what’s happening now is directly affecting their college admissions and is creating even more uncertainty in their lives.
Although you might think that colleges will base their future admissions on what children were able to accomplish during quarantine, the truth is nobody really knows if that’s true.
Sometimes, letting your teens simply destress and relax will help them even more in getting things done when they’re ready.
Keep in mind that this “free” time is their time, not yours, so when you’re coming up with activities for them to do during quarantine remember that if the kids are not enjoying partaking, they won’t get much out of it, and no one will win.
Sit down with your child and go acknowledge each of the previous three pieces of advice and ask them what they want to do, but if they are unsure at that exact moment, give them time to think about it. As it stands right now, the end of quarantine is unknown, so there is lots of time left to work on projects and complete courses.
Letting your child come up with their own endeavors will result in a much happier experience and one where all parties involved are excited and committed to getting things done. This is also a perfect opportunity to allow children to gain some independence in their thinking and take pride in their accomplishments and newfound maturity.
Things to do During the Quarantine
So what should they do?
Well, with everything I’ve previously said in mind, there are still tons of things children can and should do while stuck at home:
- They’ve been calling it the ‘corona 15’ but in all seriousness, being inside all day is likely to result in increased eating and more sitting. Exercising is a great way to combat this and can be accomplished in numerous ways. If you do take a walk, be sure to bring a pet along too if you have one.
- Books are a great way to take the mind off of what is currently going on outside and is also mentally stimulating and engaging.
- Learn a new skill
- From solving a Rubik cube to learning morse code, the possibilities of skills to learn are endless. You don’t need to pay for an online course if you do want to, thousands of tutorials can be found for free online and practice makes perfect so spending time to do things yourself is even more helpful.
- There are so many different styles to write in. See if your school newspaper is still operating and write for them, watch a movie and write a review, journal, come up with a short story and so much more.
- Take an online class
- Children are already doing school online and spending lots of time in front of screens, but online classes can provide an easy way to not only further yourself academically, but cross off a course you won’t have to take in the future. MIT OpenCourseWare is a great place to find recorded sessions of real MIT courses along with notes and tests for free.
- Spend time with family
- Whether it’s a sibling who’s come home from work or college or just the family usually in your house, taking this time to hang out with those we love can make this whole experience much more enjoyable and comforting.
- Watch TV or a movie
- Similar to books, movies, and tv shows are perfect ways to escape reality and now is a better time than ever to tackle some of the movies or shows you’ve heard about but didn’t have the time to watch.
- College Planning
- For those students currently in high school, quarantine does serve as a good opportunity to get ahead on some activities for college. Juniors can take this time to begin planning out their college essays and take a look at the common application. Including and beyond juniors, this is also a good time to sign up for the virtual information sessions being offered by hundreds of different schools. These are a tremendous way to learn more about the campus and programs from your home.
- Make a schedule
- With so many ideas of what to do, you need to be able to organize them. Make a definitive plan for your week, with due dates and anything else you or your child needs to stay motivated.
Every child is unique and getting them to do activities isn’t always easy. If they have lots of work and are being overwhelmed, it is ok for them to simply relax and recharge, all the choices above will still be there for them when they’re ready. Cooperating on what the plan should be for your children will lead to the most amicable outcome.
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