What is Spring Break in the Time of Coronavirus?
Allie Ticktin, OTR/L - Mar 31, 2020
As we get ready for truly the oddest spring break that anyone has ever experienced, I began to think about how this will impact our little ones. Typically, our routine does change for spring break, but our environment changes as well. Kids go from being at school – where the environment helps them understand expectations – to at home or on vacation, where they know things are different and a little more relaxed. But now, under quarantine, we have shifted the at-home expectations to include school, and just as the kids are adjusting to their new life at home, things are going to shift again as we enter spring break.
The thing is, because the environment isn’t changing – and really nothing is changing aside from no longer needing to do school work or join zoom calls – it is going to be very hard for our kids to even recognize that it is spring break. Instead, they may think that ‘spring break’ is resetting the expectations at home back to a relaxed environment with no need to do school work.
As you can imagine, this is going to be very confusing for our little ones. It could also be challenging when after spring break, they suddenly have to be back on virtual learning calls and doing school work, but still at home. This has the opportunity to become very dysregulating and create a big challenge at home. So how do we help them understand what is happening and what is expected of them?
Here are a few suggestions to help keep things a little more regulated over spring break:
- Use a visual schedule to indicate that it is spring break (and have them cross off the days!) Here is one you can print off :)
- Keep up the routine you have created over the past few weeks as much as possible. Continue to do at least one hour of schoolwork every day!
- Join a virtual camp or as many virtual classes as you can! Make sure they are live and interactive
- Limit TV and screen time
- Acknowledge that it is a bummer to miss out on any vacation that you had planned, and perhaps try to recreate that vacation at home! This tip came from Kevin Gruenberg, PsyD in our parenting talk last night and it resonates with all of us! Can you make stove top s’mores one night? Or go camping in your backyard?
This is a challenging time for everyone and keeping routine and expectations consistent will help our little ones to stay regulated, which in the end will help you to stay regulated and feel a little more in control.