A Daily Framework for the Whole Child 

One of our exhibit developers  created a list to help shape her 7-year-old son’s day while school is closed.  This list has received a lot of positive responses on social media. We recently asked Michelle her intention behind this list and tips she has for other parents.

Why did you make your list? 

On the first day of school and work closures,  I assume like many parents and caregivers,  I got pretty overwhelmed trying to think about how to work from home, make sure my son’s brain didn’t turn into an electronic mush,  and the impact of everything that was going on in our state, country and world.

I saw detailed schedules other parents/teachers were posting online and they looked wonderful, but I knew that would be unrealistic for my family and for me to “enforce”.

I asked myself if we got to the end of the day what would I hope to see happen. I leaned on my work at Minnesota Children’s Museum of thinking about the whole child. I wanted the list to leave room for my son to do things that interest him, but also be really gentle on ourselves.

Why did you do a list vs. a schedule with specific times?  

We do some time frames for a few of the items on the list. But those have organically happened, which is one of the things I had hoped the list would help us to shape the day with the important things. For example, we get outside around 8:30 a.m. every day. I have found that this is good for all of us to start the day moving and getting “light therapy”.

We also have specific times Owen can be on electronics throughout the day. This helps with me not having to say NO all day. Instead I can say remember at 1 pm you can go your tablet.

What has your list provided to you and your son?  

I really like that it sets up Owen for the future. I like to think that when he is an adult, he will continue to engage his mind, move his body, help others, do the things he loves and to take care of himself. It has also been a really good list for me to think about each day.  Did I do something to take care of myself, did I get outside, etc.

What advice would you give families who are thinking of putting together a framework or schedule for the days/weeks ahead? 

Be gentle and forgiving on yourself. You don’t have to figure it all out in one day and it doesn’t have to be perfect and make it work for your family. Hang in there. Reach out let us know how we can help you.

Anything you’re specifically doing at home as far as activities?

We are creating “Creativity Challenges” each day and sharing videos on Minnesota Children’s Museum social media Channels. Here’s how it works:

Two people in the house write down a word. Then you show it to each other. The challenge is to create something new (cook, sculpt, draw, write a story, create a dance, etc) using one or both of the words. For example, on the first day, the two words were “cinnamon” and “shark”. They made cinnamon toast and the cinnamon was in the shape of a shark. Check our social channels and website for additional challenges.

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St. Paul, MN 55102



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