LiiNK Updates

March 2020

Tips from the Top – Don’t let the virus get you down!

While the COVID-19 virus is keeping us separated and in our homes for the next unforeseen amount of time, we need to remember that there are productive things we can do at home to boost our immune systems and minimize distress.

In order to prevent contracting the virus, the following steps have been recommended by the CDC:

1) Wash your hands often

2) Wear a mask if you feel sick

3) Don’t go out in public if you feel sick

4) Social distancing – stay at least 6 ft away from others in social gatherings

5) No more than 10 individuals in the same social places

6) Disinfect things that you use on a regular basis

What we tend to forget is we can still be outdoors. This is probably the best way to socialize and still maintain the recommendations above. The LiiNK Project has emphasized outdoor, unstructured play daily at least 15 minutes every hour for proper whole child development, boosting the immune system, and eliminating stress in the schools.

The outdoors provides 1) sun generated D3 – natural immune booster; 2) a relaxed feeling (parasympathetic nervous system body response); natural physical skills (climbing trees, balancing on different parts of the body, coordination through jumping over things; learning how to fall, etc); and brain development (movement stimulates the ability of the brain to produce thought, creativity, problem solving skills, critical thinking skills).

So getting outside shouldn’t stop now that the children and parents are at home for an extended period of time. If you haven’t been part of the LiiNK initiative yet, it’s a good time to start thinking this way.

Here are some action steps:

1) Make sure all family members are getting outdoors to play/breathe fresh air throughout the day (at least 60 minutes a day and not necessarily all at the same time)

2) Make efforts to visit with each other – this can happen while outside or inside

3) Practice empathy – think about how your thoughts and actions will impact others; flip your thoughts to be more positive and proactive

4) Use some ideas in this newsletter to bring play to your families

5) Remember to have unstructured, outdoor play – not just structured play time – this can mean providing things to play with, but don’t tell them how to play. Let them figure it out on their own. It can also mean that you don’t provide anything – let them explore and figure play out on their own.

6) Disinfect items the children play with; don’t let children in your home play with children from other homes; social distancing still applies!

You’ll be amazed at what you and your children are able to do if you take the opportunity to go outside throughout the day every day.

- Dr. Rhea

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If you're at home with kiddos, try creating a schedule for the day! You could even post it for the kids to see. Include times where you can get work done. Here's an example:

8:00 - Wake up, make bed, get dressed, and eat breakfast.

9:00 - Take a morning walk, and make sure you stop to explore nature around you! Bring the dog!

10:00 - Academic time without technology. Examples: read a book, practice math skills, trace letters, color, cut, and glue shapes, or write a creative short story.

11:00 - Outdoor free play. Let your kids explore on their own (with your supervision for safety). This is how they learn!

12:00 - Lunch time

1:00 - Quiet time. Make this fun! You could turn out the lights in the living room, lay out blankets, light a couple pretty candles, and play soft music in the background.

2:00 - Chore time. Use this time to teach your kids about something around the house. Maybe they get to learn when the trash pickup happens, or they could help you sweep with a mini-broom.

3:00 - Outdoor free play & snack.

4:00 - Academic time. Again, use this time to practice what your children are learning in school. You can also use free resources that the San Diego Zoo have put out, or Yellowstone National Park's virtual tours, to learn about animals and the environment!

5:00 - Take an afternoon walk. If it's just sprinkling outside, don't be afraid of the rain! If it's pouring, do some indoor free play instead.

6:00 - Dinner! Let your kids play with the pots and pans or the "food" in their "kitchen" while you prepare dinner. If they are older, Raddish Kids has put out some free cooking lessons.

7:00 - Trade screen time for family time. Allowing some screen time during hard times like this is okay. Don't let it consume your day, but instead, try limiting it to one hour.

8:00 - Bedtime!

- Adapted from Jessica McHale's daily schedule.

12 Free Play at Home Ideas

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A parent and LiiNK Teacher shared this picture of her daughter, a LiiNK student. After breakfast, she went to get her stool and started washing the dishes without being asked at all. Just wanted to help out! These are the kinds of things your kids would probably love to do with you during "chore" time.

If you're looking for more things to do, below are some great resources! Enjoy!