Updated: Jan 5
Take it day by day.
This has all gone a bit bonkers and we are all having to feel our way through it. Try not to get lost in the endlessness of it all. OK, so we haven’t got that ‘end of the summer holidays date’ etched into our minds like we might usually do, but just because we don’t have an end date doesn’t mean there won’t be an end.
Try to focus on enjoying what you can and take it at it comes.
Children generally thrive best if they have some sense of structure. That doesn’t mean you have to have a rigid set timetable, unless this helps you, but try to keep some sense of daily routines. If you were someone who needed routine and structure in your day before, then stick to that now. If you were someone who needed to go with the flow a bit more, then keep doing that. Just try to stay with some sense of what normal looks like for your family.
Physical exercise is going to be really important. Kids have a huge amount of energy and behaviour will deteriorate even more than it might otherwise if they don’t get to burn it off. We have to stick to government guidelines, but at the moment, most of us are still allowed out of our houses most of the time. Get as much physical exercise, sunlight and fresh air with your kids as possible. There are also loads of things on the web popping up with ideas of how to keep active indoors or with limited space.
Children are social beings, like us, and they will need social contacts. Keep in contact with people as much as possible, by phone, video call, message whatever. Young children are not always great on the phone or video call, but even a 30 second hello to granny will help keep them connected to the world outside. Older children are often great at it, and may happily play online games, have a game of scrabble or draughts or just play alongside each other.
Keep learning, but give yourself permission not to be the perfect teacher. You can’t be everything, and right now, our children need us to be their parents more than anything else.
Don't sweat it!
There are two main reasons why I don’t normally choose to home school my children – firstly, I want them to have the social contacts of school, but second and most importantly for me, I don’t have that kind of relationship with my children. They don’t do what I want! If I tell them something, they are likely to tell me it is rubbish just because it came from me! So I am having to work within the limits I’ve got and I know that I am not going to achieve the same results as their teacher. Work within the limits you’ve got and know that all of this will come out in the wash later. For the next few weeks no children are learning as much as they normally would and we don’t need to worry about that.
Try to find learning in everyday activities – like writing a shopping list for you, doing the maths when working out a recipe. There are loads of brilliant resources and ideas on the web too.
Keep Connection to School
Try to keep a connection to school. Talk about school, make plans for what they will look forward to when they go back. Depending on the age and engagement of your child with school anyway, you can keep checking the school website, engage with any resources school are sending back and check in with friends.
Email teachers even if they are unable to respond right now. It is helpful to show your children that you can send messages about what they are doing to their teachers.
You can also use your child’s teacher as a positive – if they do something great, tell them you can send a photo or an update to their teacher.
Screens as Rewards
Use screens as rewards, don’t use taking them away as a punishment. We are all going to need screen time, so try to flip it and make screen time something you can earn.
Cut each other some slack. We are all going to be stressed, including our children, so we might all be grumpy, short tempered, worried etc, so being a bit more patient and giving each other space.
Try to focus on some joint family times together and hang onto those moments, even if they are only a minute or two.