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Social distancing with a toddler can be routine exercise

Social distancing with a toddler can be routine exercise

March 17, 2020 at 9:21am

With some daycare centers temporarily closing out of an abundance of caution over the COVID-19 pandemic, Instructor and Early Childhood Education Program Director Andrea Adelman shares advice for parents coping with social distancing while living with a toddler.

It’s important to make a schedule that mimics their classroom routine, Adelman said, but if you don’t know it, she suggests something like this:

  • 8:00-8:15 Morning Tubs
  • 8:15-8:25 Linear Calendar and Circle Time
  • 8:25-9:25 Centers + Small Group Activities
  • 9:30-10:00 Recess/ Outdoor Time
  • 10:10-10:50 Math + Small Group Activities
  • 11:00-11:30 Lunch
  • 11:45-12:45 Nap
  • 1:00-1:30 Writing
  • 1:30-2:00 Recess
  • 2:00-2:15 Snack Time
  • 2:15-2:45 Centers/ Free Play
  • 2:50-3:00 Closing Circle

Reading is another fun option. Parents can read to their children or have the child read to them by using the pictures.

Children can also help parents with chores around the house, Adelman said. Children may be given jobs they can do on their own such as wiping tables, cleaning up after themselves or feeding their pets. Parents can also help their young ones loading the washing machine or dish washer, sweeping, mopping or walking their pets.

“My mantra is, if you want them to be good at a task later in life, let them practice while they are kids,” Adelman said.

Parents can also create more involved projects for their children to teach them about letters and sounds, shapes and colors, or even play games to teach them math like Professor Charles Bleiker.

While most parents try to keep cell phones far from their toddlers’ reach, technology can also help teach and entertain children. Not just any app or website will do. Adelman recommends the content on or also provides a good compilation of activities for preschoolers, she adds. 

Another idea for leveraging the tablet: virtual playdates. Try Skype, Facetime, or Zoom and let your child play virtually with another child his or her age.

If demands for watching TV or streaming media from other apps become too strong to ignore, Adelman suggests parents watch the show or movie with their preschooler. Use that content to facilitate discussions about the experience and have the toddler explain the content, plot and characters to you. Ask them about what they think will come next.