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If your child’s school is closed due to the spread of COVID-19, you know just how hard it can be to keep them engaged in their schoolwork when there are so many distractions at home. Here are some tips to keep everyone focused and working efficiently:

Build in breaks. The first step is to create a schedule. Your kids are used to structure at school, and so when they come home, they expect to have that same unstructured freedom they normally have. Every hour or so, let your kids take a quick 10-minute break. You can even plan fun activities for them to keep them energized.

Reward good behavior. Get a reward system going. You can create something similar to a chore chart where they get a sticker for every school assignment they’ve completed. If they get everything done in the amount of time they’re given, set aside a little prize for them. Since many of us are stuck at home, these can be simple things like an extra hour of TV or letting them pick a dinner or dessert recipe.

Don’t forget about PE. Let your kids have some run-around time. Whether you structure this as a PE class or as recess is up to you. If you have a backyard with a jungle gym, that’s the easiest way to handle this. But have fun and be creative if you don’t. Set up obstacle courses inside or outside your home. Create scavenger hunts that engage your kids in exercise. The goal is to let them clear their mind of being stuck at home doing schoolwork, and also getting them re-energized to get back to it once the time comes.

Create dedicated workspaces. If you have the room in your home, set up individual workspaces for your kids. Give them some cups filled with pens, pencils, crayons, etc., so they’re all set up with the tools they need. You can make cute little motivational signs for them and tape them to the walls and decorate with whatever you have to make it a personalized workspace. A little creativity can go a long way, and once they see they have their own space, they’ll be more excited when it’s time to “go to school.”

Remember, it’s all about creating a routine that’s not too rigid. Keep things scheduled, but don’t skip on the creativity and fun.

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