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Letter To Families During COVID-19

Hey lo di o doh families! I miss your eyes and hugs!  

Oh my, we are truly trying to navigate through a big unknown event!  Don’t hold hands but we must stick together!  Our NVNS community can support many.

As a people, we really need human interaction for healthy emotional support.  Continue to call or facetime other adults to be able to just chat about what we are all going through.  It’s good for all of us to process in this way.   I’ve put together a list of things that you can do at home with your children and ways to talk with them about the Covid-19 virus.  

My first piece of advice is a quote from parenting author, Maria Trozzi: “As goes the parent, so goes the child.”   Keep your attitude positive and talk about things we can do to help ourselves and others. Focus on what we CAN do.  Truly, take care of your own emotional state first.  

Be honest with your children but limit answers to their exact questions.  Listen. Tell them about the germs that mostly just make older adults very sick and we can all take care of others by being Super Hero germ fighters! We too may get sick but we will be ok and get over our ‘cold’/flu. Make a cape and make recipes of hand sanitizers together. Some people have made lavender ‘monster spray’ for their children but now it can be another fun spray bottle activity for children to clean if they feel the need (although lavender is not a sanitizer). Tell children about all of the ‘Adult Helpers’ that are working to take care of this illness.  Children will NOT remember about washing and sanitizing without your continued support so try not to get frustrated as we all work with this new learning curve.   Be sure to LISTEN to what your children are thinking about…. keep the conversation open and allow down time play like blocks and Legos and drawings for outlets for your children to play or act out what they feel is going on. Watch that play for clues for YOU as the adult to support. Limit news for yourself and definitely for your children.  

Keep your routines as much as possible or if your routine has already changed dramatically, make a new routine.   A picture board is a great way to visually start a new routine for children.  Be sure to include times for outside play, family chores, quiet play for healthy down time, cooking, and creative play.  Academic instruction easily happens moment by moment through the course of your day.  Counting while setting tables, fractions while cooking, language and literacy while making notes and pictures and letters to others, reading, reading, reading….and SO much more!

Here’s a fun simple list of activities and ideas of mine.  YOU too are experts at staying home now so continue to share your ideas on our Facebook page!  The Jewell family shared a GREAT video of blooming paper flowers which opened up a hundred thoughts of mine as your children try it too:  Does it work with other shapes? Does it work with large paper and small? Does hot or cold water change the effect? The point is to enjoy but continue to wonder and explore! 

At our recent convention I attended a workshop about children and technology and media use. This workshop actually focused on what attendees thought were actually healthy GOOD uses of our current techno world.  Although screen time for young children actually increases ADHD by twenty percent (Dr. Kathy Masarie), there ARE good applications for children and families use.   First, limit to about ten minutes…. after that time, creative brainwaves significantly decrease.   We ALL need human connection:   Face time with your childrens friends…. they’ll do all types of silly fun conversational play and still see each other.  (DO AVOID playdates) Facetime with Grandparents or others and have them read a story or sing with your child. Adults look online to virtual tours of Zoos, museums, etc.  Watch these WITH your children and have conversations.  Can you extend what they picked up on the IPAD? I.e., make instruments after seeing how some are made online.  Send photo messages to friends and families!  They have been such a good cheer up for me when people have sent over silliness and bright joyous ‘eyes’ for me to see. 

Have a postcard making day…. or ongoing!  Send postcards to friends, send pictures to friends.  Start being a ‘picture pal’ with some friends.  Like pen pal. Offer lots of magazines and paper to cut and draw. Find a large cardboard box and add crayons and children to the inside! Have children cut shapes in your lawn while you’re telling stories together.  One year children made a turtle, a heart, and flower shapes on my lawn with scissors and they really ‘took shape’ as the lawn grew! Build a pillow blanket fort inside.  Allow for cushion jumping if possible, in your home.  The sensory pressure will be greatly appreciated and actually calming.   Roll children in blankets like your favorite burrito.  Have them roll each other in blankies!  Build out door forts. It takes a good portion of their day to ‘carry out’ everything that they need….and that’s part of the fun!

Go to Southbell dog park on Shetler Avenue…. hardly anyone’sever there and there is a small creek and wooded walk area in the back for super exploring!  It’s a hidden treasure in Napa.  Be sure to pack your lunch if you’re going to make outdoor forts there…. there is MUCH in the way of logs and sticks for great fort building and tree climbing…. I’ve done it myself!! Make flower arrangement from your yard.  Give children lots of small containers and they will delight your home with flower/plant cheeriness (needed). Create kindness activities to cheer others.  Put a surprise in your mailbox for Mail carrier and then watch for them to find it! Leave a flower on someones doorstep. Use binoculars and bird apps to watch for your own yardbirds….and feed them!   Also, children can adorn the yard with tiny nesting materials and observe if they have been taken by the birds!  I once left tie dyed yarn bits in my yard so that later I could see the tie dye in their nests! Super fun. Other materials could be string, dryer lint and hair from your brushes.

Yoga! Make up your own poses! Make alphabet letter poses!  Yoga your first letter or whole name.  Some poses make take more than 1 person! Children can paint your sidewalk and fences with water. Have a dance party with family! Freeze dancing?  Flashlight dancing? Need a band?  The kitchen will have most of your instruments! Be creative! Be detectives and look for clues with flashlights. Hunts are NOT just for Easter Eggs……children love all hunts! Inside and out! Watercolor paints in the bathtub.  Shaving cream play in the bathtub or kitchen floor tiles. And of course, cooking and baking is always fun science! Children also just love good ole water play.  Get out all your Tupperware and have them ‘wash dishes’. Take extra long or multiple baths per days. There are many online resources for you parents but I’ll continue to share and stay connected as needed.  Hopefully this list has sparked your own enthusiasm for creativity!  I will also send you a favorites list of our school songs in the next few days.

So much love and virtual hugs, from Me, Mz. Lori