We have so many things that we are monitoring and worrying about right now that are beyond our control, it feels comforting to know that the children will be able to gather virtually for the second week of school. Building community, stamina for learning, and comfort in routines and expectations are the big goals for the week.
This year, students are starting school at home. Adults in the students’ lives are seeing a glimpse into the happenings during a school day that they never have before. As a parent, I am sure this can feel exciting and a little scary! We know children are asynchronously learning, growing, wiggly, funny, need redirection, can tell time, can’t tell time, will ask for help when they need it and when they don’t sometimes, want to connect, daydream, feel shy, get tired, need a snack, whine when they don’t like something… even to us… the list goes on and on. Please trust me when I say that all of these are expected! You are getting a front row seat to an experience that is usually conducted without parents around. We all know children can act differently in front of their parents than their peers and even their teachers. I have faith that our students will find their way in this new normal.
Time Management for Kids
When the students are in the classroom at school, there are lots of supports for building time management. This is a learned skill that requires a lot of practice and experience. Some children come by it more quickly, and others need more support. Here are some of the standards that we often have in a classroom. If your child would benefit from any of these at home, we encourage you to help your child add them to their work at home space.
A digital or analog clock that is visible from the workspace (we use analog clocks in the classroom, but if your child can’t read them yet, a digital one could be more helpful right now)
A visual timer that the student can set themselves (we love the Time Timer)
A printed/written schedule of the day on the wall (with times- depending on the age, teachers will often show an analog clock face to remind students what time events will occur, or write the digital time so the child can refer to it)
A printed schedule for the week
The monthly calendar with special events
I know that even as an adult I need my Outlook Calendar to remind me when a meeting is going to start! Maybe it would help your child to set alarms on the school iPad, so that you don’t have to be their reminder! Your child may benefit from an alert 5 minutes before classes start, or even just a one-minute warning. You can even set these alerts to repeat so they automatically reset daily. Here is one site that can walk you through all the alarm features of the iPad. I encourage you to set these together, so your child feels ownership of them and understands it is to help them build time management and become more independent.
If your child asks you about the schedule, reflect the question back to them. “Glad to hear you want to be on time for PE. What time is it at? Where can you look to find that information?” This is when being able to refer to the printed schedules can be helpful!
Spending extra time to set up self-advocacy and comfort in these new routines will pay off in the long run. This is one secret ingredient of every great classroom.