Let’s discuss ”How to help young children stick to school routine”
As schools adopt a distance learning model in the near future, parents and parents find themselves in a new role, that of school co-teachers. Parents are of course part of the children’s education, but co-education is a new role for many children.
The well-being of the students is our priority. Daily contact with school teachers is of the utmost importance for the 3-6-year-olds. Whether digital (e-mail, video) or physical (picking up important parcels, sending letters), these connections must be made by a parent or a caregiver. After a brief greeting (text, audio, video, or a mixture of different formats) you can move on to invitations and ideas for follow-up work with adults at home.
Our goal is not to copy a typical school plan or curriculum that is planned online or at home. The aim is to help students continue to feel connected, known, and nurtured (with teachers, among each other, and in school) even when an important part of their daily life is disrupted. The cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and moral development involved in the new routine is not a response to outside pressure to “complete the curriculum”. Instead, these dimensions should be intertwined and prioritized as they are optimal for the development of children of this age regardless of their environment.
We send a message to the teacher: The same should apply to parents and guardians who have to complete most of their children’s formal education more than they feel ready.
- Competencies develop over time. Give yourself the time and space to strengthen your child’s role as an educator and give them the time and space to grow as a learner at home.
- Everyone can accept the “beginner’s mindset”. Be adaptable, flexible, and willing to make mistakes. Again, a good sense of humor helps. Our commitment is growth and potential (distance learning for teachers, early childhood education for parents and carers).
- Young children are naturally curious and motivated to explore, discover, play, and test. You always learn. This transition to “homeschool” offers the opportunity to see this learning in a new way. Rest assured that development is development. Stay here. (One of our mentors told one of us that he can say that if an educator likes to sit on the floor with her students, she will be successful.)
- Make it easy for yourself. The first 5 days don’t have to look like the next 5 days, then they don’t have to look like the 5 or 10 days.
- Prioritize what you need to manage your home and maintain overall health. Be careful with work, childcare, meals, and registering other family members.
- Focus on self-care. This is like an oxygen mask, analogous to an airplane. Make sure your mask is working before helping others.
Examples of instructions for teachers:
Understanding what we are trying to do is important because the teachers in our classroom are the primary contact with the students through the parents. These are examples of guidance for parents and teachers aged 3 to 6 who will work with parents to shorten the time between when the school closes and when they are back.
In terms of communication channels, we don’t expect what was effective when the school opened to have exactly the same effect now when it closes. Or at least we don’t expect the usage of these communication channels to be exactly the same. The personal contact between teachers, students and sometimes supervisors during school opening hours enables constant explanations and negotiations. But when you can’t wait to meet your child or guardian in person, the need to effectively communicate clarity, tonality, emotions, and priorities is heightened.
The communication channels are:
- Teacher email
- Face to face (planned and informal)
- Course and course websites
- Text message
- Parent representative email
One of the useful exercises suggested by Helen Noble, a friend of the Montclair Kimberly Academy in New Jersey, is to explore and leverage all of the communication channels and educational approaches that are used during school hours. Consider new opportunities and constraints when you can’t. Direct direct contact between the child and their caregiver. This prudent move can help you plan first if you want to join a school closure plan with ease or in a rush.
For example, in her lower grades, she uses Weebly as the primary mechanism to share newsletters, photos, and other classroom events with her family. You have also used rocker platforms for digital portfolio work in recent years. Their analysis steers the communication more towards the seesaw platform as they 1) feel like they are addressing the connectivity needs of the whole family and 2) many distance education ideas are delivered directly through the platform.
For many children, everyday life is encouraging. They know what to do and when to do it. You get used to the routine. But some children will not follow routines and schedules, especially if they are new. This can be stressful.
If your child is reluctant to stick to the routine, here are five tips to try
1. Ask your child to help you create the routine.
Children like to be part of the decision-making process. When they have options and a voice as part of their routine, it is harder for them to decline. It also creates trust. They feel like they can do what they need without your help or with a little help.
2. Make time and priorities realistic.
Your child may not be able to follow the routine because it is too stressful to stick to in time. Do a check to see exactly how long it will take. If your child needs to get dressed, have breakfast, pack and walk out the door in the morning, try a leisurely day. If it takes 10 minutes longer than planned, go back and make adjustments.
Try to prioritize the important ones. I feel like everything is important. But if you and your child struggle to cook after dinner every night, maybe you can do it a little later or first thing in the morning. By putting off the “extras” you can reduce stress and bad feelings.
3. Be clear in describing the routine.
If children do not follow their daily routine, it is because they do not understand it or do not know how to deal with it. Clarify what to do and when. Next, look at each part of the routine and explain exactly what to expect from each task. Be specific when giving directions. Instead of “Vacuum Today”, try “Vacuum Your Room and Hallway Today”.
4. Put the routine in writing.
How often do you make your own to-do list so you don’t forget what to do? Children also need these memories. Write a routine and post it where it makes sense. (For example, you can put your morning routine on the bathroom mirror.)
Try to break the tasks down into 3-5 items at a time. More than that can be overwhelming. For younger children, written items can be combined with a picture map to help them really see their homework.
5. Know that children need help learning routines.
It takes time to learn and get used to new routines. Don’t expect to see changes anytime soon. Instead, see a small improvement. Provide a gentle, strong reminder and keep referring to the written schedule. If your child is having problems, you can help. And don’t forget to praise their efforts, not just the bottom line. It is much better to follow a routine than not to follow it at all.