“Many of us don’t really feel like we know what’s coming up next, and a we’re taking this day by day, but for kids, we really can give them this sense “nope” we’re going to do this at this time, this at this time,” the researcher said Wednesday at a Facebook Live Q&A hosted by University of Michigan. “You decided as a family when you want that to be.”
COVID-19, and the shut down of schools across the state, has raised a number of serious questions around universal child care and the efficacy of online learning. Less discussed? How the weeks of quarantine can impact the development and growth of our kids. How can we talk to our kids about the virus? How do we navigate family-life during these uncharted times? Radesky was on hand to give some answers. Her biggest point, however, dealt with routines.
“Kids really respond well to structure,” she explained. For Radesky, this means starting “learning time” with her kids each day at 9 a.m., since that’s when school would have begun.
“It might be math first, then it might be writing,” she said. Of course, every family’s needs are different and Radesky acknowledges this, stressing that routines should be created based off the schedules and priorities of each family member.
Other questions that came up during the Facebook Live, dealt with socialization. Especially for teens, who are now home from school instead of interacting with their peers. While Radesky acknowledges that this is a period of time when connectivity via social media is in fact very nice, it’s important to also encourage one-on-one interactions..
“When it’s a group chat, those are still fine and sometimes you get a lot of funny banter between friends on social media or on group chats but you don’t get as much of that interpersonal connection of like ‘hey, how are you doing?’” she said, explaining that Facetime chats and one-on-one texts are good solution.
And of course the best advice? Be kind to yourself, as parents, during this rough, uncharted time.
“Be easy on yourself, really use this as a time to reflect on how you’re feeling, how your family is coping, how you best want your family to structure your day and communicate,” she said. “Have a sense that you’re not alone in all this.”