THE 3 “S’S” OF Being Intentional while the kids are home

In light of government and organizational responses to coronavirus, life will look a little different over the next few weeks. The CDC is asking that we practice proper handwashing and that we “implement social distancing,” which in essence means avoiding groups and keeping a physical distance from others. As a result, schools, churches, and many events are being canceled. Thus, for the next few weeks, we are going to get to spend extra quality time with our loved ones at home, likely resulting in more laughs and tears. As we all lean into the changes that surround us, we offer three S’s for being intentional while the kids are home.

Schedules

A sense of routine can help us and our kids stay calm and keep moving forward. Schedules take some effort to create and implement, but once schedules are established, they help reduce overall stress. You can create a full-day schedule or just a morning/afternoon schedule when you need to get other work done. Incorporating a variety of different types of activities will help keep kids engaged and ready to continue learning for when they do return back to school. Scheduled activities could include:

  • outdoor play,
  • art and/or music,
  • free play,
  • learning activities,
  • reading,
  • chores,
  • board games, and
  • screen time.

By providing a schedule the whole family can follow, you will reduce boredom and anxiety while increasing a sense of belonging and competency for children and adults alike.  

Karen Melton, The Intentional Family Project

Screen Time

Give yourself some grace. Your kids will likely have more screen time than usual as a result of being out of school. For older children, limit screen time so that it does not replace physical activity, sleep, or other behaviors essential to health. Having a schedule for all these essential activities can help your family manage screen time. Parents may also want to consider that all screen time is not equal. This is not only referring to the different methods that we interact with screens—smartphones, tablets, computers, gaming devices, and televisions. Instead, there are different categories for screen time use, such as: 

  • watching educational shows vs. watching entertaining shows; 
  • playing educational games vs. playing entertaining games; and
  • constructive social media vs. destructive social media use. 

Parents can help their children make wise choices by providing time limits, identifying how kids may use their screen time, and limiting access to the internet. Kids who have access to the internet will likely have extra time on social media; parents should continue to monitor their children’s social interactions online.

Social Connectedness

Part of staying healthy is having social interactions with others. Over the coming weeks, we have a great opportunity to create meaningful moments with our family. Each day of the week pick something new to do with your family at home. This could look like: 

  • Dusting off the board games. 
  • Teaching your kids a family recipe.
  • Hosting a family dance party.
  • Playing a video game as a family.
  • Having a family movie night.

During this time, we are all being asked to limit physical interactions with others, but we can use apps and other technology to stay connected with others outside our home. Let’s be intentional in reaching out to loved ones that will need connections because they are isolated.  

Life will be a little crazier than usual over the next few weeks. Remember, we are all in this together. We will all need to sacrifice and be more flexible in the coming weeks. Being intentional is a choice. If we spend a little time being intentional with schedules, screen time, and social connections, then we can look back at this time, having created meaningful moments that help our family thrive.  

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