The Phoenix Center has always valued its support from parents. Now, as this pandemic has asked parents and families to play a more active, at-home role in their children’s daily education, we as a school would like to step up and offer them some tips and resources to help not only their children but also themselves.
Individual families will have their own unique concerns, and we hope that through these guidelines we can smooth some difficulties parents might be experiencing while trying to teach their child with special needs and balance all other aspects of everyday life.
1 Take advantage of the resources we’ve compiled
Between cooking, cleaning, stocking up on groceries and healthcare supplies, and taking care of your child, it can be easy to forget about taking care of ourselves. First and foremost, we’ve put together a consolidated document of resources to utilize during these difficult times. This comprehensive list (https://www.thephoenixcenternj.org/app/uploads/2020/05/COVID-19_Resources_SlickSheet_050420_v1.pdf) features food pantries, housing rights, unemployment benefits, emergency helplines, and more. Take care of yourself, read, and share!
2 Take breaks
We’re all experiencing greater fatigue during this moment. As the weather warms, know that there is no shame in taking a day off from learning to step outside and take a stroll. There can be the impulse during more unstructured times to stay ahead and do more than you normally would. We at The Phoenix Center encourage you to prioritize family needs, personal health, and necessary recreation first. It’s harder to find ways to enjoy ourselves these days, so don’t waste opportunities that might present themselves.
3 Engage in learning off screen
Spending too much time on the computer reading news reports might induce stress, and staring at screens for too long can also be damaging. Meanwhile, your home offers many ways to engage in activities we deem educational. Cooking is a hands-on and collaborative way to name ingredients and measure them out. Asking your child to find or give you ingredients is also a great way to engage them. You can also create scavenger hunts using numbers and colors, such as “Go find four pink socks” or “three blue pens.”
4 Emphasize structure where possible
Your child will more readily adapt to an at-home learning environment if you create a system of structure and routine. Perhaps reserve one table in the house for learning and reading so your child associates that area with schoolwork. Also stick to a schedule: stay consistent with the hours you choose to exercise teaching and learning. Healthy snacks as treats during or afterward always help!
5 Know that we’re here
Finally, know that if you have any questions on how to teach your child with special needs during COVID, we are here to help. Give our offices a call (973) 542–0743 and we will have a personalized and open dialogue about what tactics to employ and what we think might work best for your child given our experience working with them in the classroom. In the meantime, we are staying attuned to news reports, keeping our facilities extra clean, and looking forward to the day when we can all safely and securely see one another in person. Until then, stay safe and reach out with any needs!