Reboot Your Virtual School Day Routine
by: Kristen Masci, OTR/L
We know caregivers have been working hard to make their children’s daytime schedules more manageable – even while managing their own. It’s not easy, but a bit of pre-planning can go a long way in setting your child up for success. This is especially important during this time in the school year when children may begin experience fatigue with the virtual learning environment and feeling the pinch of not being able to play with friends like they used to. We wanted to provide you with a few tips to keep our littles evenly centered and organized throughout the school day. Schedules What is your child’s schedule like? Just like adults have “jobs”, our kids have an important job that they work at all day long. They are learning and growing so we need to remember how much “work” is occurring – even when it feels to us like very little is going on. Consider:
Are we over-scheduling our kids? Think about your child’s weekly daily schedule as well as after school/evening time.
Treat unstructured/play time with just as much importance as special classes, activities, etc. Social skills, self-control, imaginative play, problem solving, and motor skills develop during unstructured play. This time is important!
Decompression time: Some children sit all day long at school with only a few opportunities to move. Sprinkle moments to unwind throughout the day using preferred activities. If possible, limit them feeling like they have to “perform” or achieve an adult-outlined goal.
Refuel the Body & Brain As you consider ways to give your child breaks during the day, remember to prioritize opportunities to provide sensory stimulation: movement, touch, oral input, visual and auditory input. These activities can help prepare the brain for getting into an optimal state of arousal. Consider:
Here are a few rainy day ideas to get your little one moving: indoor obstacle courses, gaming consoles (movement games), Hula Hoop, trampoline, pillow fights, basketball hoop, bike riding, scooter and pogo sticks. We love sharing info from our friends at XXXX.
Get oral input! Mouth games can be fun, organizing, and strengthen eye muscles. Blow bubbles, make a “bubble volcano”, play cotton ball soccer or use pinwheels!
Choose your snacks intentionally: crunchy snacks can be an indirect way to give movement input to the jaw and are highly regulating. Oral input, especially chewing, can help increase attention and focus. Pretzels, crackers, celery and carrots are great go-to snacks!
Take a break and make a meal together. Have your help with washing, cutting, stirring, measuring. Getting your child integrated in the meal prep process can serve as a great brain break from the computer screen while doubling as a great opportunity to practice math and planning skills (without even realizing it).