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School is Closed, We’re Stuck at Home, Now What?

Alethea Mshar
Special needs mom and Blogger
03/17/20  10:52 AM PST
School is Closed

It’s still wintery here in northern Michigan, so we used the time off school to try to teach our kids how to snowshoe. After a bit of a struggle, they got the hang of it, kind of.

School is Closed, We’re Stuck at Home, Now What?

Many families whose children have complex medical or developmental needs are accustomed to social isolation on behalf of our kids, but for some folks, this is all new. While I value the instruction and therapy school gives my children and enjoy the time they’re out of the home so that I can work and complete household tasks, this isn’t the first time we’ve had to have extended periods of no school. We anticipated the school closings and had prepared for the necessary social distancing to protect our children, especially the one with complex medical conditions.

Now my state has given the order that schools will close for at least 3 weeks, and while I’m sure there will be boredom and a bit more screen time than we prefer, we do have some ideas in place to cope with the prolonged time at home together. 

  • Our top priority is getting outside. Green time is good for mental health, good for physical health, and part of our normal lives, so we are using this break from normal to breathe fresh air and enjoy spring.
  • We’re exchanging addresses with friends and making new pen pals. Snail mail is still fun, and my kids have never gotten a whole lot of it, so it’s a novelty. Plus we’re practicing fine motor skills and being social. 
  • We’re adjusting to school work at home. It’s not easy, but we’re creating space and figuring it out. I don’t know if our system will smooth out with time or not, but we’re trying to be patient with each other in the meantime.
  • We each made a list of movies we want to watch, and are taking turns streaming them for family movie nights.
  • We got out the board games. Nothing says family fun like playing games. Add in some pizza, popcorn, and laughter and life feel just fine.
  • Speaking of laughter, we’re sprinkling it generously throughout our days. Nothing releases tension like a huge guffaw. Life is funny, sometimes especially so during times of hardship. Finding the humor in the situation is reclaiming power over things we cannot control. My son Alex loves school, and so we wrote on the calendar the tentative day school is scheduled to open. He’s already counting days until then and was disappointed when I mentioned that school might not start back up when we hope it will. I gave him space to express his frustration, he deserves it.

This is new to all of us, and we are figuring it out as we go. We set a goal of getting through these tough times with laughter and love, and I think we can do it.

inclusion on the playground

Alethea Mshar is a Special Needs Mom and Blogger.

Read her blog, Ben’s Writing, Running Mom

Follow her on Facebook

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