How to Handle COVID-19 School Closures

March 13, 2020

So you just heard your school is closing indefinently in response to COVID-19.

Your kids are jumping on the couch in celebration. To them, it’s a vacation.

To you, it’s a NIGHTMARE!

Now what?!

Not only are you worried about keeping everyone healthy, worried about whether or not your boss will let you work from home for the next few weeks, and worried that you may not have enough toilet paper, you suddenly realize you have to do the unthinkable.

Dun dun duuun….you have to TEACH!

All joking aside, this is a very serious situation.

  

Calm the Chaos

Your anxiety is bound to rise, and without a few counter measures, so will your child’s.

Yes, you are scared. For your health, your child’s health, your finances and the millions of other challenges that are piling up in light of the situation.

Life is on hold! And in the midst of it all, you have to find calm. This is crucial. If you panic, so will your little ones.

 

5 Strategies to Handle the Crisis Like a Pro

First, put things into perspective. What can you control?

Well, the truth is very little. But you can control your anxiety. And for the sake of both you and your child, you need to tackle the next 5 steps:

 

1) Get Prepared

What essential items do you need including groceries and household items?

What medications need refilled?

What vitamins, over the counter flu and cold medications and supplies do you need?

Skip the store if at all possible! Can you order online and have it delivered? Can you order in advance and have it ready for pick up?

If neither of these are options, make a list, take your sanitizing wipes and head to the store for a fast in, fast out shopping experience.

 

2) Organize your Financial Situation

Stressing about finances is downright scary. We understand! However, sitting back to “see what will happen” is rarely a good idea. Be proactive.

Make a list of your priority expenses and upcoming bills. Get organized and prioritize!

Determine which bills are the most critical and then contact your bank, credit cards and utility service. Most organizations have plans in place for emergency situations, so inquire about your options and make arrangements as you are able.

Contact your local and state offices to inquire about deferments, assistance and other options available during a state of emergency.

The main thing is do not panic, but also remember to not stick your head in the sand!

 

3) Hold a Family Meeting

Sit down with your children and calmly address the situation.

Answer questions, address fears with facts and remember that too much detail can worry little minds. So be discreet when necessary and stay positive!

Come up with a plan to keep the virus at bay while out and about in public areas and make hand-washing a priority! Need reminders? Have your kids create some fun reminder signs to hang around the house.

The best approach is to stay positive and work to turn the scary ordeal into a fun experience, and then watch your children jump on board!

 

4) Develop a Daily Schedule

Developing and sticking to a routine will keep idle minds (including yours!) from worry and boredom.

When developing a schedule consider formatting it similar to your children's school day. For example, wake up at the regular time, breakfast, math, reading, break/recess, language arts, lunch/recess, social studies and reading.

If you are lucky, your school will send home a chrome book and a daily syllabus. In this case, your main job will be keeping your kids stay on track.

But if you aren’t so lucky, you might be scrambling to figure out what to do with all that time! Have no fear. There are many free websites and apps that offer online courses, games and skill-based tests for K-12.

A daily schedule will also provide the time you need to work from home. Small children can watch a movie or color while older children are studying and you are working. This isn’t necessarily going to be easy, but it can be done!

 

5) Plan Family Projects

One of the joys of a home-quarantine experience is the ability to tackle that overdue project.

Maybe it's painting the bathroom, making cookies or framing school art projects. Ask your children what they want to work on. You might be surprised at the suggestions!

Whatever the project, working as a family can provide a fantastic bonding experience. 

 

Focus on the Positive

Having now entered a national state of emergency, it is no longer a matter of if, but when your child's school will be closed. Count your blessings if by some rare chance your town isn't negatively effected.

In the meantime, get prepared and remember that you can only control so much. So you might as well enjoy the downtime with your children!

For more information about COVID-19, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

 





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