Spring Break

Spring Break is nearly upon us. We know for certain that the teachers won’t be teaching (if they ever needed a break, the time is now) and it leaves us with an entire week to structure for RR. We’ll keep up some of the language and math – we know she needs it – and come up with something, anything else to do.

This is made more complicated by the fact that both of us are working from home. I read something that resonated with me: We are not working from home, we are in a crisis working in our houses. In fact, we are working in a crisis and it’s exhausting balancing everything. So what to do for a week of open-ended time for a person who wants nothing more than to watch youtube and hang out with us?

I know I spent time outdoors finding things to do, but this child isn’t that kind of child. Maybe she could be if I sent her out more often but the fact is, right now, she isn’t. And, before I go further, let me be clear that I know how fortunate we are to get this time with our child. That this is an unquantifiable, incomparable gift. But my stars, if I have to listen to five days of Why can’t I play games on my iPad. It’s not a school day, I’ll take that gift and crumple it right up.

So, help me with a list of stuff to do. Parameters: won’t go to the mountains, can’t wander around shops, limited ingredients for baking, low tolerance for pillow forts and mama-centric pretend. Here’s what I have so far:

Scavenger hunt
Rearrange bedroom
One board game per day
Some math and language everyday
Making breakfast for dinner
Painting a tape on canvas painting
Making ice cream
Choosing a recipe to make that she’s never made
Raking mulch and planing flowers
Taking a walk to the river with the dog
Talking with friends
Self-face-painting

What else have you got?

7 Responses

  1. Is she into making potholders on a loom? (Of course, this requires acquiring both the loom and those cotton rubber bands in advance… but at least they don’t hurt like Legos when you step on them.) Could you set her loose on something like WikiHow, or would she just get back into playing games? Writing letters to friends? Origami? Recording herself (either video or audio only) telling jokes? Chalk drawings on the driveway? Listening to audiobooks? (<- Let me know if you need any!)

    And, I cannot believe I am saying this, but Lordy, this has been a month chock-full of "I cannot believe I am saying this"… maybe just give her five days of playing on her iPad? I tend to be a real hardass when it comes to screen time, in no small part due to the fact that my children all turn into raging monsters when they finally have to get off of the screens, and the longer they've been playing on them, the ragier they are at the end… but shit, there's only so much we can do right now. I totally get the kids' desire to just escape into a world of screens where pandemic viruses are not a thing and we only have to worry about imaginary dangers. In fact, if my weekly screen time report is any indication, I TOTALLY GET WHERE THEY'RE COMING FROM.

    Good luck. ❤

    • These are great ideas – thank you. And, I’m about *this* close to just giving up on the screens. We’re screen happy some weekends and she’s pretty good about stopping but I feel like I could be a better parent. But then, whose standard am I rating better parenting by? My mother used to lock me out for hours on end to play outside so… Anyway, this is all to say that I appreciate where you’re coming from and thanks for listening.

      • I have a couple idead: small chores (like washing sinks or walls) seem very satisfying to my kids. they’ve been writing and mailing a letter every day. Taking paints outside to draw something there. Watch a movie and write a one paragraph summary.

        We don’t need to be good or normal or.standards -having parents right now- at least that’s what I think about it. Eventually school will start again and we can all use that as a back to normal rules reset. But especially for anyone who’s expected to work from home, all we need is to keep the kid(s) alive, make them eat a vegetable or vitamin periodically, and, like, make it so everyone in the house is getting their basic needs met as much as possible.

        Look, my kids are getting dessert three times a day and I normally give then whole wheat bread and a cut up apple for snack, not cake and jello. I paid for an app just so I can ignore one of them for 30 minutes a day! There are maybe 2 hours a day of structure and that’s all I have to give. None of this is ideal. We all put a lot of thought and effort into structuring our families’ lives and every single damn part of that structure, including our work structure!, is now closed or gone. I’m a great college professor and a purely mediocre one room schoolhouse instructor! This is not the job i signed up for! It’ll be okay.

      • So my instincts not to give cake for a snack are solid! It’s true. It’s the new job we have, not the one we’re signed up for (or would be particularly qualified for). I know all three of you who’ve commented, either in person or we’re virtual friends, and I so deeply appreciate your comment.

      • I meant mostly that normally it’s apples and whole wheat but now it’s like half cake! ☺

  2. Does she play music? Edie’s discovered a website where she can play along with a whole symphony and it keeps her occupied for hours on end. I’m sure there’s something similar out there for RR. I mean, there has to be, right?

    • What brilliance had Edie stumbled on to? We’ve tried to get RR into painting along with other artists but she inevitably ends up drifting off into a make-up video. Maybe that’s the route we should go!

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