How parents are getting through coronavirus isolation — without depending on screens

Monday marks the first day of March break for many students across the country.

In addition to kids having this week off, though, governments in both Ontario and Quebec announced all publicly funded schools will be shut down for two weeks after March break due to concerns around the novel coronavirus outbreak.

While most kids will enjoy sleeping in and relaxing this week, what will they do for the following two weeks at home?

Here’s what some Canadian parents are doing to keep their children busy.

Create schedules

Burlington, Ont., resident Julie Cole, who has six children ranging in ages from 10 to 20 years old, said she has already planned a daily routine for her kids.

“They seem to function best when we have a schedule,” Cole said.

I just felt that if I added in a variety of different activities with some learning and some fun, then that would keep them off the screens and keep them busy.”

Cole and her kids made the schedule together based on their interests and different styles of learning. Some of the activities include arts and crafts, watching educational television shows and exercising.

Jennifer Kolari, a Toronto-based parenting expert and founder of Connected Parenting, said this type of structure will help prevent chaos in the house. Just because your children are home from school, doesn’t mean they should be allowed to sleep for as long as they want or watch TV all day, she said.

“If these days at home don’t have structure or texture, your kids are going to get pyjama fever,” Kolari previously told Global News.

“As much as possible, you need to keep the structure looking very much like school.”

Play games

Coming up with games is another way parents can keep their children entertained.

Brittney Holton, a Hamilton mother of a one- and three-year-old, said she created a nature scavenger hunt for her kids in their backyard.

Her kids then make crafts with their findings, work on motor skills, and draw maps of their neighbourhood to places like “grandma’s house.”

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