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West Linn dad gives tips for how parents and kids can stay productive at home during COVID-19 outbreak

COURTESY PHOTO - REAVIS With Oregon schools closed for the next two weeks and many adults working from home, parents across the state might be wondering how they're going to work while keeping their kids entertained and academically engaged. One West Linn dad suggests parents have a plan.

A father of two, Chris Reavis has worked in tech for 30 years and also runs Rad Dads Rule, which gears parenting advice and resources towards men.

"Traditionally, old school stuff, (women) have been doing most of the work, but dads need to step up" Reavis said.

Reavis recently worked with teachers and workplace leaders to create a step-by-step guide for working and schooling from home during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, posted on the Rad Dads website. Reavis said parents should keep kids mentally engaged and connected to their friends while also calming their concerns.

The first thing Reavis said parents should do is know their school's plan. Is their school instituting remote learning? Did the kids bring home any materials, curriculum or homework? Reavis recommends making sure to have the email address of your kid's teacher on hand.

The next important step Reavis suggested is creating a structure.

"If you make a schedule and work with your kid and kind of base that around your work schedule, you can be really productive. If you do nothing it's a recipe for chaos," he said. Throughout the school day, kids have time for reading, math, writing, art, activities, lunch, and breaks, which can all be done at home.

"The teachers we talked with recommended a list with checkboxes for each activity, including breaks. They also recommended a set start and end time," Reavis wrote. This can help you plan any work meetings you have."

Thirdly, Reavis listed breaks. He recommended a general structure of 30-40 minutes of work and then a 10-15 minute break. According to Reavis, taking the break with your kid whenever possible is important and suggested finding a way to be goofy with them during that time.

"Anything from tossing a Frisbee, kicking a soccer ball, a quick game of tag, or even a dance off can help add a little fun to both of your days," he wrote.

Next, Reavis said parents should learn their child's modality, or the way they learn. According to him, everyone has one way in which they learn best: listening, seeing or using their hands.

"While we have a primary preference that we are born with, we are all also a mix of these modalities," Reavis wrote. He also cited a University College London dean of education who said that successful teachers incorporate all modalities to make sure students experience learning both inside and outside of their comfort zone.

Reavis wrote that it's important to mix up the topics your child focuses on throughout the day: and listed a number of websites where parents could find age-appropriate curriculum for their kids.

Reavis also recommended making sure kids stay in touch with their friends.

"?If you cannot safely have your child connect with friends after 'school' time, plan time for them to use Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom," he wrote.

He also noted it's important for parents to stay connected with their friends too so they don't feel isolated.

At the end of the day, Reavis kids should have things to do other than using screens, whether it's chores, books, coloring, card or board games or playing outside.

Reavis also mentioned that it'a important for parents to schedule a bit of time for themselves to unwind each day.

One of the most best things parents can do to keep themselves and their kids from panicking in uncertain times is having empathy.

Having empathy for children, Reavis said, will actually allow adults to leave the "fight or flight" mode the brain enters when panicked, allowing them to reason and rationalize.

Actively listening and acknowledging a kid's concerns will calm both the child and the adult, he explained.

Read Reavis' entire guide for working and school from home at raddadrules.com.


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