This post is an excerpt of mine from a late March 2021 BACKYARD CAMP issue/email newsletter!
You must check out this Canadian website for families. I’ve copied some information below about the creative, fun, and smart activities and challenges they share for parents to keep their kids busy, active, and learning.
Here's what I contributed to the March 2021 Backyard Camp issue:
STAYING ON TRACK IN A DISRUPTED SCHOOL YEAR
Anybody else feel like this is the longest March ever? From kids to parents and teachers, we all need a break — let’s bring on the holidays!
If you’re wondering how to help your kids stay on track at school these days or catch up after a year of disrupted school life, here are a few suggestions that should help.
1) Keep Family Routines In Place, Now More Than Ever:
Bedtime, wake-up times, meal times, chores — whatever events mark the days in your house, keep to the program. Everyone functions better on a routine, especially kids. This is the most important parenting hack; maintain your sanity with regular family routines, day in and day out.
2) Continue To Focus On Well-Being Over Everything Else:
Try not to focus on “benchmarks”, expectations, outcomes. This is not a typical year, so we can’t focus on the same results as usual. Remember: keep the priority of well-being over academics. That means focusing on connecting with your kids, getting exercise and a good sleep, along with decent nutrition and self-care to keep everyone healthy, mentally and physically.
Have faith in your kids’ teachers! They’ll get our kids caught up if they’ve fallen behind. Good teachers know how to close gaps and get kids back on track. They’re diligent professionals who know what to do!
3) Try To Read Daily:
Read together with your kids, and independently. Model a love of daily reading so your kids will find joy in it as well. Add in audiobooks, too, to accompany chores and meal prep. Audible has some freebies for kids and teens. Check it out and nurture this productive habit.
4) Support School Learning:
If your kids are struggling with virtual learning or distracted by restrictive Covid protocols at school, then consider a regular, after-school review of lessons learned to solidify the material. A variety of free educational platforms and apps are available online to help kids absorb and retain lessons they learn at school. Try binogi.ca while it’s free, for example. It’s a new app and online platform that gamifies learning and supports curriculum for students in all subjects and grades. Screen time spent reviewing school lessons in a fun, competitive way is a win-win.
5) Outsource If Needed:
If you’re worried and want to be proactive about getting your kids caught up, I’m all for outsourcing. Find a tutor who connects with your child to support and reinforce skills (on a regular basis or as needed). Post a ‘tutor request’ in your local social media group, or hire a qualified teacher from an established tutoring business (they will do the vetting for you). Tutors support what your child’s learning at school — take some pressure off you, and help your kids build confidence in their subjects.
6) Take Note Of Silver Linings:
We’re all feeling fed up and longing for life as we knew it, but we can’t forget about the silver linings emerging after a year of Covid-19. A few of my own:
We’ve had to slow down (that’s a good thing!)
We’ve connected more thanks to tons of time together (quantity time)
We’re more involved in our kids’ school lives and have more insight into how
Our kids have developed new life skills, such as cooking and cleaning. These moments, while trying at times, are gifts.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, with warm weather and vaccines coming. Hang in there for a bit longer. Before we know it, our lives will be full again and our kids will be back in their groove.
More about Backyard Camp:
Backyard Camp offers a free and paid email newsletter for parents and caregivers who would like help programming their child’s play activities. Unlike the various blogs that list many ideas for parents, Backyard Camp’s uniqueness is in the specificity and detail of its programming. This newsletter is personalized to the needs of each family’s circumstances, meaning the content received will be tailored for factors like the child’s age, activity preferences (e.g. crafts, sports), number of children and if they’re living in a house or building.
The content is provided by a range of contributors, from teachers to experienced camp counsellors. They’ve also partnered with existing programs, to share their expertise with the broader community and contribute to helping parents.
For many more tips, grab a copy of Jane's book, Launch Your Kid: How to Promote Your Child’s Academic & Personal Success (without being a helicopter parent)