- Written by Rebecca Shurtleff
Contributed by Marianne Simon, PsyD, Director of Behavioral & Therapeutic Supports at Wildwood
We are in unprecedented times right now. COVID-19 has led to millions of families being asked to work from home, homeschool their children, and continue the day-in and day-out tasks of keeping a household running.
Before March 16, 2020 we were used to juggling many hats, but were able to leave for work wearing our “employee cap,” then take that one off before coming home where we would then put on our “parent cap.” Now there is no time to switch roles; instead, you find yourself on a video conference call for work when all of a sudden, a child creeps over your shoulder and you try to shoo them away without anyone noticing. Then immediately after getting off your call you need to jump into teaching a math lesson on fractions—but first, you google how to do the assignment before you can teach it.
So how do we handle all this? There’s no magic wand we can wave to turn ourselves into superheroes, but by using the tips below we may be able to survive this period of extreme multitasking and physical distancing:
- Create a schedule or routine. Children are used to being in school all day where they follow a schedule. Trying to recreate the school day exactly is impossible, but having a routine in place will help the entire family function more smoothly. Have your child participate, to the best of their ability, in creating the schedule. Structure provides comfort and a sense of control.
- Have boundaries. Find a place in your home where you can “work” that is separate from all other operations of the household. When you are “working,” you should be in this identified area. Same for your child: find a place where “school” can take place that is separate from their play area. The change of environment throughout the day corresponds to a change in expectation and will help maintain boundaries for everyone.
- Schedule time with your kids. Just like replicating the school day is impossible, replicating your traditional work day is also unrealistic. We know our kids will need us. We know they will want us to engage and play with them. So, build this into the routine of the day so they know when they’ll have access to us.
- Practice physical distancing, not social distancing. Both you and your child need social connections outside of the family home. Use technology to help your child stay connected to others – extended family members, peers, teachers. Set up a time for your child to watch a favorite show while a friend is watching the same show and let them FaceTime each other while watching. Even better? Plan this during a time you know you have an important work call for some (hopefully) uninterrupted work time. Of course, limiting screen time is still important, but don’t worry if they are on a device more than usual, especially if it’s allowing kids to stay connected to others.
- Remember, it won’t be perfect, and find the positives. Find a system that works best for your family. Observe how everyone is doing with what has been put in place and tweak along the way. Don’t forget to notice the positives. In what other time will you get to spend so much time as a family. Go for family bike rides or walks, make a math lesson by counting rainbows in your neighborhood or cooking together. Document this time. Take pictures, journal together.
Remember, we will get through this. Often out of crisis comes many positive outcomes. Be safe, and stay healthy.
- Written by Rebecca Shurtleff
On March 10, 2020, the Wildwood Foundation hosted their first fundraising event of the season: Trivia Night.
Held at Fort Orange Brewing in Albany, the event generated approximately $7,000 in donations to directly benefit people with developmental disabilities and their families. The night was filled with great beer, great food, over 130 people on 24 different teams that were competing for a cause. The first place team (“Even Lower Expectations”) was the winner of a SEFCU-sponsored $500 Grand Prize, and received a complimentary invitation to SEFCU’s Capital Region’s Smartest Company event in the fall.
We were excited to see a mix of participants, with teams created by Wildwood staff, family members of staff, sponsors, community partners, and people from the wider Capital Region. Many attendees were attending their first-ever Wildwood Fundraiser. One thing to note was that the event seemed to be well-attended by a younger demographic, which would be the result of advertising primarily though social media.
In addition to the teams that participated and the raffles that were held, the night was a success thanks to the support of our generous sponsors and donors. These include SEFCU, Wilde Construction, McCauley Electrical, and Datto, Inc., and the in-kind donations from Fort Orange, El Loco Mexican Cantina, and Memorama Team Trivia.
Check out the SEEN Gallery on the Times Union website!
- Written by Rebecca Shurtleff
March is recognized as National Nutrition Month, and with the beginning of the month comes the start of a new initiative at Wildwood.
Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) is a nationwide effort to promote awareness and change in the areas of eating and exercise. Wildwood Schools adopted the initiative for the first time in 2014, with the hopes of improving nutritional habits and increasing physical activity for students. The focus was placed on educating students about choices they could make in the areas of nutrition and exercise, and how healthy habits can be beneficial in all aspects of life. With HEAL in place, the school began to provide regular physical activities and increase the amount of healthy food choices available. A walking club started, where participants are recognized and awarded for the amount they walk, access to a track and greenhouse was created as a way to provide additional healthy activities.
With the success of HEAL at the school, it was decided to bring rest of Wildwood in on the initiative. The new push will focus on reaching residences, staff members, and programs that haven’t previously been involved. To kick it off, a competition has been put in place for people to test their knowledge, educate themselves through nutrition-based games, and share how they stay active and eat healthy. Through creating this fun, competitive environment, the hope is for people to recognize the healthy choices that they’re already making – and what potential changes can be made in the future.\
Though awareness is the primary goal, recognizing choices and change is just as important. Things like: taking the stairs instead of the elevator, cutting down to 4 cans of soda a day from 5, substituting olive oil for butter when cooking, or eating fresh vegetables instead of canned…all of these can be beneficial. A path started with a few small steps can lead to a big success.
Despite National Nutrition Month being the catalyst for the HEAL kickoff, the potential for this initiative remains boundless, even after March is over.