4 Ways to Help Children BLOOM During COVID-19: Through Learning
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
By Montana Mapes, BLOOM Workshops Director
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new challenges into everyone’s lives, making it difficult for people to reach personal goals. The BLOOM team notices and understands that many children and families around the globe are currently struggling with home-schooling, scheduling, and creating an engaging learning environment. This blog will outline some of the ways in which parents, tutors, and home educators can help children stay focused while maintaining positive mental health during this time.
1. Create Goals
One way to establish a good relationship with your child and their learning while at home is to set clear goals. Because it may be difficult for young children to set short term and long term goals by themselves, parents and educators can give advice, and try to come up with mutual goals with their children. When a child is given autonomy over their work, they will be more likely to work harder to achieve the goal. For example, if my high school teacher told me to read The Hunger Games in one week, I would be stressed, rush through the content, and not enjoy the material as I know that I will be graded on the content at some point in the future. But, if I went to Indigo with my sister and picked out a book to read over the summer, I will most likely finish the book with a better understanding of it, as it was of interest to me. A child is no different than an adult. Children want to have their own goals and be able to achieve them, and this is why we need to give them a safe and positive space to do so.
2. A Need for Structure
This year has been a very confusing time for most people...imagine what children think. Are they wondering if it is an extended summer vacation, or do they know that they cannot be around their best friend at school because there is a harmful virus that could hurt them? Whatever a child thinks, it is important for them to know who to trust, and who they can learn from in this time of confusion. Creating a schedule is one way to support a young child’s thought process during this time. The types of daily activities that can be put into your child’s schedule can include: morning routine, mealtimes, homework, play time, exercise, and family time. A variety of scheduled activities will help a child stay balanced, rounded, and focused on the next activity.
Here are some reasons as to why a daily routine is important for a child during the pandemic:
Helps your child have a purpose
Establishes goals and expectations
Creates a safe and calm household
Gives the child confidence and independence
Allows the child and other members of the family get excited for what is to come
3. Exercise and Leisure Activities
Although learning is very important to your child’s development, movement breaks and creative exercise are just as important to your child’s physical and mental health. Since some leisure activities such as bowling and mini putting are closed to members of the public, the pandemic is giving parents and home educators an opportunity to be creative. For example, parents and educators can give their children a variety of ways to express themselves by creating activities that are accessible to the child’s needs, or supporting local businesses that engage the child’s attention. Without breaks from learning, adults would get impatient, and would not be able to do their most productive work. This goes for children as well, except they have more energy than adults, so they need even more breaks!
Some examples of creative physical activities include:
Hands on crafts (making slime)
Making up dances
4. Use Online Resources
Looking at the pandemic with a positive perspective, it can be said that quarantine has taught people to be more adaptable, and create a sense of community through our screens. With this in mind, the amount of resources, whether this be online appointments, creative businesses, or educational resources, has increased immensely in the past 7 months. BLOOM encourages you to take a look below at some of the resources that focus on children learning and mental health.
A CTV News article by Jennifer Ferriera, written on March 23rd, 2020, outlines some incredible resources that children can use to stay busy and learn at the same time during the pandemic.
Some of these resources include:
A site where any learner, either child or adult can take part in educational lessons. This is a nonprofit educational organization.
This site is amazing for online reading tools and flashcards. It has over 29 levels of reading and many different genres of books. Raz-kids includes a 14-day free trial.
Kids Activities Blog
This website includes a collection of educational YouTube channels for children. There are plenty of online field-trips, creative colouring pages, and screen-free activities for children.
If you are interested in more sources, here is a link to the original article! https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/how-to-keep-your-kids-busy-and-learning-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-1.4863397
Creating an encouraging learning environment can be difficult for anyone at any age, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. BLOOM also acknowledges that every child learner is different, and engages with material in a variety of ways. In order to benefit your child or learner’s mental health in the most positive way during this time, test out any of these activities and see how they work for you. They might not work, and that’s okay! Setting small goals and trying new things can allow you and your child to slowly acknowledge improvement, leading to positive progress in mental and educational growth.