Easter + Spring Break + No School for Kids + Family Stuck at Home = UH-OH!

April 6, 2020

What an absolutely crazy lent.  We are certainly being asked by God to celebrate Easter the same way the Apostles did….quarantined.  Besides the obvious concerns and prayers towards all those being impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, we have a brewing storm coming towards parents of Catholic school children.  We have 10 days of Holy Week and Spring Break with no school for kids, yet not allowed to leave the house.  

Parents working from home + kids without a daily schedule stuck at home = UH-OH!

The key to surviving this storm is to have a plan and to create a schedule that embeds enough routine to keep the kids occupied, while at the same time using this as an opportunity to become closer as a family.  Specific to the upcoming 10 days of Holy Week and Spring Break, I have three major suggestions that can help you navigate the storm!

Suggestion #1:  Plan for a Virtual Holy Week

Most kids are in school til Wednesday, so this is all about planning the Easter observance and celebration from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday.  Here’s some suggestions:

  • Easter Prep for the Kids:  for those with younger kids, schedule a virtual egg coloring session with a few of their friends or other family members(cousins, grandparents).  You can make it a competition or just have some fun music in the background to make it a party atmosphere.  
  • Holy Thursday:  prior to dinner, read John 13, then have Dad wrap a towel around his waist and wash everyone’s feet.  The kids will get a kick out of that.
  • Good Friday:  Have movie night with an age-appropriate movie.  For older kids, watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.  Recently, two other movies with great reviews came out: Paul the Apostle (https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Apostle-Christ-Jim-Caviezel/dp/B07C45SV37) and Love and Mercy, Faustina (http://loveandmercymovie.com/usa/) can both be streamed from various providers. For the younger kids, watch the Jesus Film Projects (https://www.jesusfilm.org/about.html)
  • Holy Saturday:  Organize a “Family Video Chat Day.”  You can do a virtual rosary or a virtual divine mercy chaplet.  In addition, if you have quarantined grandparents, use this as an opportunity to video chat them and have them share their memories of Easters from their past.
  • Easter Sunday:  Have your normal Easter celebration.  Attend virtual mass (there are many that are live or can be seen at any time).  For the fun stuff, try to record all the egg finding adventures or whatever traditions you have.  For loved ones that cannot be there, make them a video showing the kids finding their eggs and baskets.

Suggestion #2: Create a Video or Movie Trailer

There is still learning that can be achieved during this time off, but not the traditional math, reading, and science.  Have your kids learn some cool tech that can actually build skills in areas that will benefit them in the future.  I know, I know…the kids have been in front of screens all the time and I’m sure many of you want to ban them from devices during this period.  However, this isn’t mindless watching of the screen, but real tech learning.  Here’s three ideas:

  • Create an imovie trailer:  I’m assuming many of you have Apple products(iphone, ipad, macboooks).  The imovie app comes standard with them and it’s free. The app has templates for movie trailers that your kids can easily learn how to use to make their own trailer. They will build skills in storyboarding, video editing and design, and multimedia;all of which are 21st century skills. Here’s a quick tutorial they can watch:  https://filmora.wondershare.com/imovie/make-movie-trailer-imovie.html
  • Create an imovie project:  Instead of a trailer template, imovie allows you to pull together multiple video clips and to string them together into one cohesive video.  It has fun ways to add music, and text, and transitions to make it look professionally done.  The idea here is for those of you with grandparents in quarantine, have your kids put together a video for them.  Find old videos and photos and assemble a fun video that you can share with them.
  • Learn Music with GarageBand:  For kids with more musical inclinations, get them playing around with GarageBand on the iphone, ipad, or macbook.  It’s likely more appropriate for middle schoolers, but there are ways to teach kids of all ages about music composition through this free app.  Here’s a tutorial you can show  your kids (https://apple-garageband.wonderhowto.com/how-to/teach-your-kids-about-music-using-garageband-320329/)

Suggestion #3:  Organize a “Kids Control Day”

Basically, for spring break, you tell your kids that each of them can have one day to plan for the family. Of course, parents need to maintain veto power, but hopefully the kids will keep demands within reason.  Have each kid plan out a day that includes ideas for the following four categories:

  • One Meal: Each kid can request their favorite meal (breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner) and participate in the preparation of it with mom and/or dad.
  • Family Game:  schedule a game for the whole family to play(e.g., trivial pursuit, hide-and-seek, taboo).
  • Family Exercise:  identify a family activity that involves exercise or athletics, such as a kickball game, bike riding, potato sack races(for us Brady Bunch generation), whiffle ball game, and for us not-in-perfect-shape folks that fear pulling muscles….bocce ball!
  • One Wish: your child can request a wish to be granted (in reason), but it has to involve the family (e.g., no wish to be alone on their device).  Be creative!

I’m sure there are many more ideas that help your family grow spiritually closer together while at the same time keeping parents sane!  Feel free to visit www.saintlife.io and join the forum to share your ideas on this topic.

Jeff Sant

My name is Jeff and I'm a software entrepreneur and specialist in educational technology. I love reading and writing about innovations in education, especially faith-based education. I believe our kids need faith and that learning environments cannot devoid themselves of faith. Also, I believe faith-based schools could improve dramatically by adopting some business-oriented methodologies that could help them better market, communicate, and become more efficient.

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