Create a daily schedule
Following a daily schedule gives kids a sense of control, predictability, and well-being. It also helps make sure kids get independent time and time to connect with friends virtually each day. Here are some ideas about what to include:
- Set aside time for learning, creating, playing, and socializing.
- Schedule time for both independent and group activities. Family meetings will let you check in and talk through anything that might be stressful or worrisome to your child.
- Try to get outside everyday–it’s great for physical and mental health.
- Take small activity breaks to help stay focused. Try stretching or putting on music and dancing.
- Take a free virtual fitness class at the YMCA.
- Provide a way for tweens and teens to connect with friends virtually.
- Make art–it helps reduce stress and can give kids a way to express their fears.
- Let kids help with chores like cleaning, organizing a closet, or cooking. It’s a good time to learn new skills and work together.
- Set an example–kids learn from your and will follow your lead!
- Regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an important way to keep kids happy and healthy, too.
Talk openly about COVID-19
Knowing you are working to keep your kids safe and how they can help will help kids feel empowered. They might imagine the situation is worse than it is, so giving them correct, up-to-date information appropriate for their age is important. Here are two digital picture books to help, Coronavirus and My Hero is You.
- Explain social distancing. Tell your kids you are following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by staying away from others and wearing a face mask if you do go out until the risk of contracting COVID-19 is under control.
- Share simple facts. The disease spreads between people who are in close contact with one another, when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or when someone touches infected objects. Washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds when they come in from outside, before they eat, and blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the bathroom helps keep everyone healthy. Kids seem to have milder symptoms.
- Listen to kids’ fears and respond with truth and reassurance. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more.
- Pay attention to what they see or hear on media. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
- Teach kids to use deep breathing to calm themselves and practice breathing exercises together. If you stay calm, it will help your child stay calm, too.
- Offer lots of love and affection.
- Watch for signs of stress such as disrupted sleep, stomach aches, canker sores, and leg pain. Here is some advice from experts to help.
Incorporate learning into daily routines and enjoy your time together
Focus on the positive. Now you have more time time to spend together. Make learning fun with projects and activity suggestions you’ll find below.
- Build a fort from sheets or practice counting by stacking blocks.
- Make a family art project or a window display thanking service workers that are keeping us safe, healthy, and fed.
- Practice handwriting and grammar by writing letters to family members.
- Start a journal with your child to document this time and discuss the shared experience. YpsiWrites and 826Michigan are offering new writing ideas each week.
- Snuggle up and read an eBook, watch a movie, or listen to an audiobook as a family.
- Play the Spring Challenge to track your reading and find more activity suggestions that lead to prizes when we reopen.
- If you have a little one, sign up for TALK to get activity suggestions sent to your phone twice a week.
Stay connected to resources
- With kids spending so much time online, be sure to check out our guide to keeping kids safe online.
- Stay in touch with your child’s school.
- Find resources for food and jobs on our COVID-19 resource page.
- See learning ideas and free online resources for teachers and parents here.
- CDC’s recommendations for caring for kids during Covid-19
- Talking to kids about Covid-19
- Talking to tweens and teens about Covid-19
- National Association of School Psychologists guide for talking with kids about Covid-19