The disruption of schools suddenly switching to distance learning, no more class band, orchestra or choir practice, and family routine changes. Lack of social and physical activity, and fears related to the COVID-19, Corona Virus, outbreak have become very stressful for parents and kids across the world. What can parents, and we as a music community, do to keep kids playing and help ease some of this new anxiety… while still finding routine in this “new normal” we’re all living in?
To help your kids stay engaged and focused on positive activities, try these suggestions:
Maintain their routine
Continue their normal day to the best of your abilities…same time for waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, doing schoolwork, practice time, taking a break, going outside for recess.
Keep them active
When the weather is nice, get them outside and move! Bring the music outdoors and host a front porch concert for your neighbors. When inside, incorporate different kinds of music to dance to – talk about how each type sounds different and try researching different genres of music (salsa, jazz, pop, hip-hop, waltzes) and where they come from.
Help them stay connected
Facetime, Video Chat or call friends from school music classes or relatives by playing duets or performing for each other. Make a project out of it – digital posters and invitations for a peer jam session, in-home coffee house or go on “tour” and unleash their inner virtual rockstar.
Inspiring artist videos or live streams
Do research together on some of their favorite artists, or ask their music teacher for recommendations on inspiring videos to keep them motivated. Music & Arts curates a list of daily live streams for musicians, check them out!
Do breathing exercises, draw, paint, sing, cook, meditate, make slime, read a story. This can also include listening to, or even playing some calming music on their instrument. One of the best things about playing an instrument is the chance for self-expression. This is a great time to embrace that in a way that keeps them present.
Keep them positive
Sometimes practice isn’t fun, and stay-at-home orders aren’t fun either. Talk about things you are grateful for as a family or things that are going well both with music and in other things you are doing, help them choose activities and things to work on that improve their mood.
This is Temporary
Reassure them that, despite the struggles, this “new normal” is temporary. Talk about being flexible as a family to cope with each day’s new challenges.
Building resiliency will help your children manage now and in future times of stress, and building a routine and self-discipline for practice will help them with many other life-skills.
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