Photo by Priscilla Du Preez
The transition from school to home may be exciting and painless for some kids and more glaringly challenging for others, but one common denominator is novelty. Martello emphasizes that kids’ cognitive associations with home are often tied to relaxation, fun, and family time; their behaviors are different in this familiar and comfortable space as opposed to the more rigid classroom environment. Understanding and empathizing with this is essential to exercising patience, and will also help parents reset boundaries to reflect the activities and expectations at hand.
Because children function best with a certain degree of structure, maintaining as much of their preexisting routine will be incredibly helpful. Though the backdrop is obviously different, doing little things like setting up a schedule similar to their school’s (even if it has yet to assign a new curriculum) will help keep their minds active and disruptions and transitional anxiety to a minimum. See a sample below, and adjust the timing and activities based upon your children’s needs and ages. You can also make it more specific to the assigned curriculum if that helps them.
First and foremost, Martello urges parents to “minimize distractions. That means no noise at all,” either from you, the television, vacuuming, or whatever. (Or, she says, if your children focus better with some background sound, play soft music or turn on a white noise machine. It might take some trial and error to decipher whether this helps them while they do schoolwork.)
It’s also important to set up an actual surface space for them to work on: Any table clear of clutter where they can sit upright will be just fine. If possible, Martello recommends a chair-and-table situation that allows for the 90-90-90 angle rule: knees bent at a 90-degree angle as well as hips and posture at a 90-degree angle and feet firmly on the floor. And good task lighting! In households that only have one table for the family to work from, try to assign different seats and sections to each family member. “The more designated, the better,” she says, as structure is essential.
To keep siblings focused on their work instead of playing with (or annoying) each other, consider sitting between them while you do your own work. If that doesn’t work—or if you can’t be in the same room with them for whatever reason—try the folder fort trick: Divide their separate spaces with folders to create mini cubicles. You could even turn folder decorating into a makeshift after school activity so they feel like it’s a fun, personal place to learn. Or, if your children are old enough and have their own rooms with desks, they might be able to better minimize distractions there.
A bright side: There are tons of great apps and online resources that’ll be especially valuable for learning at home. For example, if your kids miss their friends, coordinate with other parents to organize a virtual hangout with House Party, a video-based social networking app (unless, of course, they’re old enough to facilitate it themselves).
Additionally, says Martello, there are more and more free, live-streamed kid-friendly classes and activities popping up, from painting to yoga, story-time, and more. Browse IGTV for options or download Zoom to see if any of the programs and instructors have moved their sessions online so your children can still learn from them remotely. Documentaries and podcasts are also great options. Keeping them busy for a while will also hopefully free up some of your time. Do your best to reframe their perspective so they can see it as opportunity to slow down, talk and connect to loved ones, play with siblings more, and explore their more creativity.
While ideally, Martello says, children’s screen-time should be limited to two hours a day (as it can overtax their nervous systems), that’s trickier when everyone’s inside all day. At the very least, “Take breaks from the screen,” Martello says. “All work and screen time shouldn’t exceed 30 to 45 minutes at once.” So, every 30 or 45-minute learning interval should be followed by a 10 or 15-minute break.
If your kids can get outside while still practicing social-distancing, great! If not, try to move “recess” to a sunnier space by a window. What’s important is making sure the kids are active in the home before and after work time to break things up. Of course, this definitely won’t look or feel like “business as usual”—and that’s okay. Definitely expect some meltdowns from toddlers (and even college-aged students, and, probably yourself).
How you approach this will of course vary depending on your kids’ ages and maturity levels, but Martello’s general advice is to “help them identify what’s happening for them” emotionally. The key is to get them talking about their feelings, as that will help you see how you can best meet their emotional needs.
It probably goes without saying that this is not going to be a simple, one-time conversation, but rather an ongoing one that will change as the circumstances do. But in general, it’s a good idea to share how you’re feeling to get the conversation started. For example, if you miss your friends, Martello recommends saying something like, “I’m sad I can’t see my friends either.” This approach can validate their new emotions and make them feel less alone in the experience. If they ask about coronavirus specifically, Martello says to explain it as simply as possible. For example “this is a new virus that makes everyone feel different. Sometimes it looks just like a cold, but for other people, it makes them very sick and that’s why we have to stay inside for a while.”
It’s okay if they’re curious, just make sure to inform yourself as best as possible when providing them with answers. If your kids are older, you can explain that these are preventive measures we’re taking collectively as a community to ensure our hospitals don’t overcrowd. Be prepared for some complex questions—when the “school’s out” mentality wears off, “they will have questions about safety,” too, says. When appropriate, a little sense of humor can go a long way.
With all these new stressors comes a variety of material consequences and emotional reactions for parents, no matter how well-adjusted and prepared they may be. When you’re anxious and overwhelmed, work through it the best you can before interacting with your children, Martello says. That can mean talking about it with a partner, friend, or therapist, going outside for some exercise if that’s an option, reading a comforting book, journaling, doing a guided meditation, crying it out in the shower, cooking, really whatever it is that centers you most.
Martello’s primary advice is to avoid oversharing or projecting your concerns onto your children. “When you use your children to process, that’s when it becomes unhealthy. Deal with your emotions and worries first so you can then help them handle theirs,” she clarifies.
Checking in with both yourself and your loved ones should become a regular part of your routine—a little morning, midday, and evening vibe check, if you will. “When we’re worried about our resources, we have to look within,” says Martell0. “We have our breaths. [COVID-19] is affecting our lungs and breaths. If we have it right now, let’s find that inner breath and calm and reach out,” Martello says.
Super informative article from House Beautiful. Here is their website:
A Part of Conversation Questions for the ESL Classroom.
By Shelley Klammer
Deal with emotions like anger and sadness through these helpful exercises.
Art therapy can be a great way to relax. Consider these exercises if you’re looking to feel a little more laid back.
More therapies on self, trauma, gratitude, inside the mind and more at:
Although April Fools’ Day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.
Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563.
People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.
These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.
Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises.
There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.
April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.
In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences.
In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees; numerous viewers were fooled. In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour.
In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.
By Aaditi P, Writer for Youngzine
City of Helsinki in Finland; Image Pixabay/tap5a
What better occasion to announce some happy news than these grim times that we are pushing through?
Just in time for the UN’s International Day of Happiness on March 20, the World Happiness Report announced a listing of the world’s happiest countries – with Finland emerging as the winner for the third year in a row!
The runner ups, which also happen to be European countries, are Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway.
Many Finns are confused at the idea that they could win the award for the happiest country when they are simply content with their lives. Let’s take a look at how the happiest country is determined…
How are the Rankings Determined?
It may seem strange to imagine happiness as something that can be measured.
When asked about how a country can be the “happiest,” John F. Helliwell, one of the editors of the report, explained that happiness does not depend on a counted number of smiles but on the trust and confidence that people have in each other.
The editors of the World Happiness Report used data from the Gallup World Poll to rank the countries. Additionally, they looked at six factors: levels of income, life expectancy, generosity, freedom, social support, and trust.
This poll that people in countries around the world answered includes a set of yes/no questions about their lifestyle and emotions. The survey also includes questions like one where the respondent was asked to rank their life as if they were on a ladder (0 on the bottom to 10 at the top) and the happiest life was at the top.
The results of the survey and an examination of the factors ranked the happiest countries in the world, along with the least happy. The countries that are at the bottom of the list in terms of happiness are Afghanistan, followed by the African countries of South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and the Central African Republic.
Finns and their Lifestyle
So what exactly in the lifestyle of Finns makes them stand out? As mentioned before, trust is a key part of a healthy and happy life. A common theme that many of the lower-ranking countries on the list shared is the people’s distrust and fear of their government.
However, according to the survey’s results, 91% of Finns are satisfied and trust their president, while 86% trust their police.
Not only does Finland have a smooth, trustworthy democracy, but also a progressive education system and almost perfect gender equality. One of the biggest factors of the Finns’ content lifestyles, however, is due to their universal healthcare system.
All in all, it is the community and trust that boosts Finland to the top of the happiest countries list. So, although it may be a time of stress and fear, experts say that this is also a time to increase our overall happiness if people come together to support each other.
Photo by Best Life
See all 50 reasons to make you smile at:
Article by Lynn Redmile, Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping Institute
In an effort to keep your family healthy overall, it’s smart to ramp up your cleaning routine now, especially when family members are spending more time at home. Here are some tips and common household items that the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab recommends you include in your cleaning routine.
Check out all the items on the GHI list of things to clean, and how to clean them at:
A couple of weeks ago, our Social Media Editor, Abigail, sent our office a picture of a purse that was sold out and asked if anyone knew of anything similar.
Immediately, my mind went through an inventory of five different nearly identical ones that are available right now—there was one at Topshop, one at Nordstrom, one at Mango that was similar but not quite the same size. It took all of 30 seconds for me to find an almost exact replica of the nude, boxy, top-handle bag.
My point? Half of my mind consists of fashion and trends and what’s on the market and what’s dwindling out. I spend my work days researching trends and writing about them and styling outfits based on them, and I spend my after-work hours scrolling through Instagram and seeing even more content surrounding it.
All of this obviously affects how I dress too. While I definitely pick and choose which seasonal trends I’m going to go all in for, there are some consistencies I’ve noticed in things I used to wear, but now consistently avoid; it hasn’t happened overnight, and they aren’t items that are necessarily considered strictly out of style either. All of my has-been go-tos just couldn’t hold up to updated, similar versions that came along.
These are the pieces I no longer wear, and what I’ve replaced them with instead:
I’m the first to admit that sometimes I’ll see someone in ballet flats and think they look chic as all hell, but when it comes to what’s in and what’s not, other flat shoes have undoubtedly taken the reins. (It’s also hard to put a pair of ballet flats on my feet and not reminisce about wearing them every day of middle school.)
Loafers are kind of like ballet flats half-sister, but they’re the successful business-woman sister running into Thanksgiving late because she had a meeting she had to fly out for last-minute instead of the cute, innocent one making the pumpkin pie. Both have their strong suits and admirable qualities, but time and time again, I choose the former—especially for my day-to-day life.
I wore skinny jeans exactly once over these past six months, and they made me feel … wrong.
There is absolutely a time and a place for skinny jeans. They can easily tuck into boots and are tempting to wear with tops that are more oversized to balance out proportions, but there are other jean styles that have taken over our lower halves over the past couple of years.
A straight-leg jean can do something to your outfit that skinny jeans just can’t. They somehow make everything look more intentional and thought-out and make an outfit look like, well, a look, rather than something you just threw on. There are a million shapes and fits and lengths of straight-leg jean options available, and with a little bit of trial and error, you can find the perfect pair for your body (and once you see the wonders they do for your booty, you won’t look back).
These are hands-down the best straight jean option for anyone who considers themselves a little fuller-thighed—they’ll still look “straight” without pulling or tugging.