Now, more than ever, our students need consistency, direction, and routine where they can find it. What does that look like during this time of school closure?
In a time of uncertainty, what can you control?
First things first: move.
Pull up a yoga class on Youtube. Hop on a treadmill or stationary bike. Do some jumping jacks or push ups to break up the monotony of sitting. Screen time is increasing for all of us, many parents are working from home, and students are antsy. Movement breaks should happen throughout the day to help parents, students – everyone – to realign and refocus.
Make a plan, follow a routine.
How can we all use this time wisely? When a student has a routine, they aren’t constantly looking for a purpose or something to do; a routine allows a student to organize their life on a daily level. Research shows that routines decrease impulsivity and increase time management skills. Set some goals with your student for the next few weeks, and figure out what needs to happen each day to accomplish them. If the main goal is to read ahead in history, then create a morning routine that involves your student reading while their focus is engaged, and they haven’t been distracted by their day yet. For example, once your student is awake, they could:Brush their teeth
-Walk the dog
-Read for 30 minutes
-Make a quick outline of key points covered
-Vacuum their room
A routine can be more detailed than that, but it doesn’t have to be! Productivity early in the day gives you options (discipline = freedom, of course!). Routines open up a tremendous amount of time, and your student can run with that productive momentum start a (read a choice book, clean their room, start a DIY project) or take time to do whatever it is they want to do (play video games, scroll through Tik Tok, watch Netflix, you name it).
The flip side: when routines are off, things fall apart. When students with executive function challenges miss school due to illness, vacation, etc., it can take an inordinate amount of time for them to catch up and get “back on track.” This time out of school can be a blessing or a curse, and it’s up to us how we frame it.
How can Untapped help?
We’re here to support you. Although we can’t meet in person right now, mentors are available to chat with students, help them catch up if they’ve fallen behind in the semester, help them get ahead, and overall, help them maximize their time out of school. Meeting remotely with mentors, regardless of what your student’s grades look like, is important to student success and maintaining consistency (and a degree of normalcy). Reach out to your mentor if you have any questions about your student’s progress or if you need more specific tips regarding building a daily, non-academic routine.