With schools closing and workers being instructed to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be challenging to keep your children happy and healthy at home. You might start to feel worried about how to encourage your children during this crisis whilst you have to work at the same time.
We have put together tips for you to support your children during this unprecedented time so you can manage anxiety and stress whilst helping your children succeed in their learning.
Stick to a routine
Setting and sticking to a regular schedule is an important way to keep your children calm in a period of stress because they have a consistent structure throughout the day.
Create your own daily schedule, this can replicate a school schedule, changing activities at every 30-45 minutes and switching between studying and play. This daily schedule, created for children with learning differences, can also be used for all children. Use this as a guide and adjust the schedule depending on when you think your children will give their highest attention and effort into learning. Many children find that later in the morning and early afternoon are the best times to concentrate on certain classes.
Don’t forget to schedule in regular breaks for short amounts of time throughout the day. In addition to this, set up opportunities for exercise to keep your children energized and active.
Set up a home classroom
Regardless of whether your child is in preschool, middle or high school, try and set up a dedicated space within your home that your children can use to learn and focus in. By making this space as comfortable as you can this allows children to work in a positive learning environment. It’s important that they can make this space their own by adding artwork or completed assignments to almost mimic their own classroom setting.
Stay connected with school
Contact your childrens’ school and ask how they will be communicating with parents and students during the school closure. Your children may receive updates and information directly from their school, this may be helpful for you to look at too.
Reach out to your child’s teachers if you feel that they are struggling to cope with the assignments or different projects. Find out if your child's school is offering resources to use from home such as laptops or tablets, this will give them the tools to be able to learn from home if they don't already have these devices.
Don’t forget to communicate with other parents from your child’s school as they are in the same position as you. Sharing your thoughts through phone calls or video calls is a great way to bounce ideas off each other and find out how they are coping with the situation themselves.
Be aware of your children’s mental health
With your support most children should manage to get through this period even if they do show signs of stress and anxiety. However, some children have a higher risk to more intense reactions as they may have a pre-existing mental health problem. If this is the case please contact a healthcare provider if any of your children show significant changes during this time.
Listen and be positive
Try to focus on the positive during this time and reassure your children, this will help to calm them. Discuss all the good things that are happening such as people coming together and helping to get through this period. Try to get your children involved in helping others through activities such as writing letters to neighbors who are self-isolating or sending positive messages on social media.
Helping your children feel safe and secure in their home environment especially amongst this pandemic is important. One way to do this is by simply listening to your children and allowing them to tell you exactly how they are feeling. Then you can talk through the ways to help ease their fears and anxiety such as breathing exercises and calming techniques.