NEW ORLEANS – Family time is being redefined in homes across the country. Playgrounds are off limits, school is on hold and parents are juggling work, play and, for many, homeschooling for the first time.
“It’s been a challenge; it’s definitely been difficult,” says Angelina Vicknair of New Orleans Mom, an online resource dedicated to providing critical information for parents across the region.
Vicknair says having a routine has helped her kids stay focused.
“We get up at the same time every morning, we exercise in the morning and we start school work at the same time every morning. So it’s always consistent and they know what to expect every day,” she says.
According to Vicknair, kids are more likely to follow a new schedule if you let them be part of the planning. Another tip: ask your kids to describe their normal school day in detail, and include some of it in the new at-home routine. Try an activity such as reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to set the tone and establish that school is now in session, even if it’s in your living room.
“It’s important for the kids and the teachers too. As parents, it’s important that we continue to do the work for our kids so that when they do go back to school they don’t fall behind and don’t feel that they didn’t learn anything in the time they were gone,” says Vicknair, whose two sons are ages five and eight.
They happily played on a slip and slide while she shared tips with WGNO’s Stephanie Oswald.
The parenting expert also recommends searching the web for activities that will appeal to your child. She says Google and YouTube are filled with options, including Cosmic Kids, a channel that offers kid-focused yoga and meditation.
Parents need to keep their sanity too, with exercise, safe communication (Zoom happy hours are becoming very popular!) and avoiding bad news.
“I think this has sort of forced us all to slow down, and I’m trying to just enjoy the time that I’m spending with my kids, and not having to be so busy,” says Vicknair.
The goal? Create a balanced atmosphere, so you’re able to count more blessings than breakdowns.