With school closures now in place, the prospect of home schooling has become a reality. This will be a huge challenge for us all, but especially hard for key workers who will be forced to juggle the responsibility of work and looking after children at the same time.
But before we all get stuck into the new routine and try to create a ‘new normal’, we must remember to help our children cope with the stress and uncertainty we all face, and protect them from any Coronavirus hysteria…
- Firstly, take some time to talk with your children about the COVID-19 outbreak
- Most importantly, reassure them they are safe
- Really consider how much they need to know. Answer their questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that children can understand
- Limit the amount of news they are exposed to, if they are old enough to understand it
- Respond to your child’s reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra care, attention and support – let them talk about their worries
- Let them know it is OK if they feel upset
- Sharewith them how you deal with your own stress, so that they can learn how to cope with you
- Don’t forget that children mirror behaviour and so, if you are visibly stressed and anxious in front of them, don’t expect them to behave any differently
Whilst the extra time off school will seem exciting at first for the kids, the reality of being contained at home and unable to see their friends will soon wear off. For your own sanity and theirs, create a daily schedule to bring a sense of routine, expectation and calm. This could include TV time, reading or other learning, exercise (PE), playtime, creative time and of course some free time to do as they wish.
Other great ways to keep them entertained and healthy;
- Why not start the day with Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, who is offering himself as the Nation’s PE support by holding an exercise class for kids on his You Tube Channel, every morning at 9am!
- Cosmic Kids and other online yoga channels to keep them active
- Hit the books! Why not set a challenge and read a book or a chapter every day. You could also listen to some audio books or why not tune into children’s author Oliver Jeffers who is reading stories live on his Instagram feed @oliverjeffers. David Walliams is also giving away a free audiobook every day too!
- Search Facebook and other social media channels for great ideas you can participate in with them and groups you can join, one example if the 30 day LEGO challenge
- Make a scrap book or build a timecapsule and stash it away in the house somewhere safe – we are living through history right now, so why not record this moment in time to revisit when they are older.
- Get outdoors! Whilst the weather is so fine get outside as much as you can in safe spaces like your garden. Create obstacle courses, get them gardening, create simple treasure hunts or do a ‘spring hunt’ getting them to spot, photograph and draw flowers, birds and insects.
- Keep in contact with friends and family daily, using tools like Facetime, Skype and Zoom to help them feel connected. Grandparents and other loved ones will most likely welcome the chance to connect with them and keep them entertained – giving you some much-needed reprieve.
Coping at home with the family will be all about balance and building family relationships. See this as a time to reconnect with your kids, for them to strengthen their relationships with you and with any siblings. Whilst it will be easy to focus on keeping the kids happy, remember to take time for yourselves too. Everyone needs space and time on their own and it doesn’t all have to be organised fun.
Don’t be afraid to simply slow down, watch movies, play board games and try and make the most of this time as a family and make use of the plethora of free online resources available to you, to make your life as stress-free as possible.
Online resources and tools
Although your school and teachers are likely sending you relevant work from home activities, here are some other sites you can make use of*:
- https://www.twinkl.co.uk/offer. Use code CVDTWINKLHELPS when registering, to access all resources for free.
- Excellent revision books for SATs, GCSE, A-Level: https://www.cgpbooks.co.uk/
- Vast on-line resource bank (all year groups) created for teachers: https://www.tes.com/. Search for home learning packs by year group and that should narrow down the options. Alternatively, you can search for resources, such as worksheets for specific topics or areas of learning.
- Primary school resources, organised by subject and year group: http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/
- Resource bank up to GCSE: https://www.teachingideas.co.uk/
- Workbooks for primary school: https://www.teachitprimary.co.uk/
- ‘TeachIt’ also sell workbooks for secondary school students, and have separate sites for each subject eg: https://www.teachitenglish.co.uk/
- Primary school resources: https://tpet.co.uk/
- Primary school resources: https://classroomsecrets.co.uk/
*Before buying any workbooks or downloading packs please check which exam boards your school’s working with.
In addition, if you are looking for something creative to do with them why not join in on our campaign to say thank you to all the front line workers – see video below. Email your entires to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will collate them all to share with these hardworking heroes!