As we are all aware, recently both state and federal governments have requested that all non-essential workers please work from home in the hopes of containing this worldwide outbreak of Covid-19. While at the moment none of us know how long this will be the case, we all have to get used to the changes being requested of us. Currently that means that as well as working from home, there needs to be time to work as well as helping school aged children deal with home-based schooling.
Unless you’re a professional educator yourself, and perhaps even if you are, you’ve never had to supervise and assist your own children 6.5 hours a day, 5 days per week to ensure that they’re keeping up with their studies and homework. Yes, it’s going to be tough, but you can do it! Believe in yourself, breathe, take little moments to do things for yourself, and you will be able to push through until school holidays give you a much-needed two-week break from formal education.
Below are some tips on how you can successfully help your children during this difficult time.
- Focus on what you CAN do – what is currently happening is out of anyone’s control. Children have most likely been exposed to the panic buying currently being seen around the country; you can attempt to explain to them what is happening and how you are going to deal with the situation. They may experience fear or anxiety because of what is happening, you may be experiencing it as well, but that’s okay; we are in unchartered territory. Explain to children the importance of approaching the situation calmly and sharer with them the steps you are taking at home to be prepared. “While maintaining basic hygiene and following the advice of the health authorities is a good way to start, there are also practical things you can do if you are at home with the kids.Give children responsibility for tasks at home like helping care for a sibling, looking after a pet, keeping their room tidy or assisting with meals which helps to focus attention on what can be done.”
- Establish a daily routine – regardless of the age of your child, they are going to need structure introduced to their days at home. Monday to Friday, get up at the same time they normally would to go to school, have them do their normal morning routine, dress, have breakfast, have a chat, approach it in the same way you would on a normal school morning. Some schools may ask that your children still dress in their school uniforms during the period in which they’d be in school, this may help them understand that this is a school day and not a play day. Pay attention to any information which the school supplies as to how learning will be conducted on a daily basis, there may also be specific apps that can be downloaded in order to help with lessons. “Ensure that the daily schedule includes a balance of academic, creative, physical and social activities with clear expectations for wake-up and bedtimes.” Also having a schedule for “screen time” can be helpful to have them understand the difference between schooling and leisure times.
- Stay connected – even with social distancing and self-isolation, it is important for both you and your children to maintain relationships and conversations with family and friends. Providing opportunities for socialisation with others will be beneficial to combating loneliness, as well as adding a boost to their moods (your mood too!). Apps and sites like Skype, Facetime, Zoom, or video calls will help you stay connected and give you the chance to see a friendly face. Sometimes we just need a little chat with someone to help us get through the day, this may be something that can be dome during breaks for recess or lunch.
- Stay active – depending on where you live, there may be different restrictions placed on us as to what is appropriate and inappropriate in regard to exercising in public. Currently it is deemed okay to leave the house for short periods in order to exercise. There are restrictions on who you can go out with, how many people are allowed to be together, and how far apart you need to stay from people who do not live in your household. Go for a walk, or a short bike ride in your street or local park, but please remember to keep your distance and try to practice safe hygiene whilst out and about. Exercise is good for the body and the mind. It relaxes us, keeps us motivated, and keeps us centred. Capitalise on your chance to bond as a family, but be mindful about respecting your family members needs for personal space.
- Handling anxiety – in the current environment anxiety is pretty much a given, but there are coping mechanisms you can try. Regarding your children, listen to them; they will need you to understand emotions which they are trying desperately to convey. Children take their lead from adults on how to behave, so remember that the way you react to this situation will be reflected in their behaviour; if you are able to be calm and approach things sensibly, then they will learn from that as well. Please don’t make assurances on things we don’t as yet know, for example at the moment there is no designated date that tells us school will return to normal, or work will return to normal, or when we will be able to see family and friends again. Try to avoid adding to anxiety by avoiding giving specific time frames to this ending.
Remember: “It is also equally important to look after yourself as a parent or carer; keep an eye on your sleeping, eat well, spend time doing activities you enjoy and look into relaxation and mindfulness techniques to help maintain your calm (something you will need with potentially bored kids at home). Getting this balance right will help your kids continue with at least a part of their education while they’re at home – and who knows, you might learn something new too.”
We hope this helps you a little bit and it gives you the motivation to keep going. We will all get through this. Stay home if possible and stay safe. Remember to wash your hands and practice good hygiene techniques.
At Angel’s Paradise we support parents and carers to help support their little humans.