With virtual learning and homeschooling becoming the new normal for school-aged children due to COVID-related school closures, you may be in a situation where you have both live-in, elderly parent(s) and kids in the home all day while you have to juggle work or remote work, meal preparation and other household responsibilities.
Rather than feeling overwhelmed, this could be seen as a golden opportunity for your parents to get involved in their grandchildren’s education. If you haven’t already, consider having a conversation with your parent about how they could help. Depending on their mental and physical abilities, your parent could take part in your kids learning in small or significant ways. Most grandparents would be more than happy to help out however they can. It makes them feel useful, and also gives them a chance to spend quality time with their grandchildren. Here are some ideas for ways in which your live-in parent could partner with you in your children’s learning during these unprecedented, challenging times.
- Learning Games or Exercises – For the younger ones, your parent could possibly help with spelling or writing homework and exercises. Or they could just do some learning games such as math or spelling games with them. There are fun and educational children’s workbooks available that they could work on together after homework is finished, which gives the kids a break from screen time as well.
- Have Kids Read Aloud – Even a parent is visually impaired can listen to your young child read a story aloud. They could engage the child by asking questions about the story and its characters, look at the pictures together, and ask questions like “what do you think will happen next?”
- Watch Educational Videos Together – There are great nature, history, and other educational videos such as those created by National Geographic for Kids, that your senior might enjoy watching too. For the older kids, there are other educational and war-time documentary series that they could watch together.
- Help with Class Projects – Is your child working on a genealogy project? Are they supposed to research how their older relatives or ancestors lived in the past? This is a perfect project to get your parent’s assistance with! They can share real-life stories about how things were ‘back in the day’. This is not only a great way to boost memory for your older parent, it is fascinating for kids to hear about life before cell phones and computers! If possible, have them show your kids their old stereo system, cassette or 8-track player, film camera, transistor radio, dial telephone, or vintage car photos to give them an idea of what life was like.
- Do Art and Craft Activities – Another way to balance out the screen time is setting aside time for some fun and easy art and craft activities that grandparents and grandkids could do together. Even just coloring with crayons can be very fun and enjoyable, but if you want to get more ambitious you could get out some paints or watercolors too! Seasonal crafts and baking projects are always a big hit with kids, so you could plan some multi-generational crafts that are both entertaining and simple to do.
- Just Be and Provide Moral Support – Even if your parents can’t have a direct role in helping with your children’s learning, they can be present in their life, and provide moral support. They can talk to your kids about why it’s important to do well in school, and maybe talk about their own school days – especially if there were any obstacles they had to overcome. By praising children when they do well in school, get a good grade, or receive an award, they support and encourage their learning.