A full list of tips and advice for parents and caregivers when it comes to tackling home learning in lockdown
As Children's Mental Health week draws to a close we thought we would take this opportunity to share a list of top tips for Parents and Carers about home learning in lockdown.
It's important to remember that there isn't just one formula that works for everyone, each child learns in a different way and every family is experiencing this lockdown in their own unique circumstance, with some in more privileged positions than others, so inevitably some tips will work for some but not others and that's okay! It's important to be kind to yourself as a caregiver and recognise you're doing the best you can and as hard as it is, (especially in the world of social media,) not to compare yourself to others or beat yourself up if you're experiencing a few bad days of home learning.
However, we hope the with our list of 7 top tips we can offer you some support or potential ideas on how make things a little easier during these testing times and ensure that both you and your children's well-being is maintained throughout this lockdown.
1. Follow your Childs lead
Try not to force a rigid schedule onto your child each and every day and instead try and follow their lead and assess how both you and them are feeling and decide how you approach the day of learning based on what you feel is best for your family. If you can sense your child is tired or unfocussed or just simply not in the mood, give them a break. There is no need to panic if they seem distant or unengaged with their Zoom lessons, its normal for them to have off days and when they do try and encourage alternate ways of learning new skills based on their interests. If your child loves their game console why not try setting them a task to research all about the history of it or ask them to create a presentation about how to play their favourite game.
That way they are having fun and are more likely to engage as it involves something they enjoy and that way a day of learning isn't wasted as they are still building new skills, just not in a conventional way. The most important thing is that your child feels happy and supported because even though they may not show it, this lockdown is effecting them and their lives too. Now we're not saying swap the syllabus for fun and unique tasks every day, but if you miss a lesson or a homework deadline or two, don't stress yourself out about it too much.
2. Allow them to have fun
Allow time in the day for your children to simply have fun. Both you and them deserve to have a break and not only will it keep the child happy but it gives you time to focus on your needs, whether that's work or relaxation. Furthermore, people often underestimate the educational power play can provide. It's more than proven that Children learn through play and reap numerous benefits from it and particularly with younger children, allowing them to play freely can help stimulate their imagination and creativity, so try not to be too strict when it comes to allowing them to have fun on school days.
You can also try playing games that involve the entire family but be wary that with increased tensions this lockdown an innocent game of family Monopoly does have the potential to end in a squabble or two.
3. Get them up and moving
It's essential that both kids and adults maintain their physical health during lockdown but not only that, daily activity can help improve yours and your child's mental health too! Particularly when it comes to Children, being stuck indoors all day can make them restless and may result in bad behaviour so allowing time for them to engage in physical activity during the day is a must. It provides a chance for them to let out all their energy instead of bottling it up which can sometimes make things even more difficult for you especially when it comes to bed time.
Try going out for a walk or letting them kick a ball around the garden or a local park. And for the rainier, more miserable days why you can try indoor activities such as dancing or skipping or perhaps heading over to YouTube for some home workout routine inspiration, there are a wealth of resources out there for kids and adults alike that extend beyond just Joe Wicks (not that Joe Wicks isn't great.)
4. Do work in short bursts
Tackling tasks in short bursts can help stop Children from losing focus or interest in the work they're doing. Encourage your child to take short breaks every 45 minutes or so where they can take they opportunity to talk to a friend, have a snack or do some exercise. Be understanding that working from home isn't easy and that even for Adults it can be hard to maintain concentration when staring at a screen from long lengths of time.
5. Get showered and dressed in the mornings
Getting showered and dressed into proper clothes in the morning can really set the tone for the entire working day ahead. It's hard to concentrate and get into 'work mode' if you're just lounging about in PJs all day so try and make the effort to get ready as normal in the mornings. It also helps create a divide between work hours and sleep and relaxation time.
6. Use technology to your advantage
A lot of us are fortunate enough to have access to technology and instead of spending hours nagging your kids to get off their phones or their iPads, try using these tools to your benefit. To help take the strain of you as a teacher, let others do the teaching as much as possible, whether that's getting them to watch educational YouTube videos or TV programmes or allowing them to play educational games.
There are numerous apps and websites available that offer useful learning resources for kids of all ages.
7. Set Weekly Goals
They don't need to be big goals, in fact the more obtainable the better, but setting weekly targets can be a great way to motivate your child. Reward them for their efforts if they achieve the goals you set out at the start of the week, and that doesn't necessarily mean spending money on buying gifts, a reward could be 10 minuets extra TV time or one to one time with you. This can also provide a great morale boost at the end of the week for the whole family and can help improve your child's confidence.
We hope we have been able to provide you all with some ideas or inspiration on how to tackle home learning this lockdown or perhaps re-assured you that what you're doing a great job already
Remember, it's not easy balancing being both a Parent and a Teacher and for many working their own jobs on top of it all and that although it may not always seem like it, you're doing well to cope with it all.
If you yourself have any tips on surviving home learning as always we would love to hear your say!
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