It has been a good two weeks since the Government – mandated lockdown. And while for some (the kids…cough) it has been a welcomed decision, the same can’t completely be said for the parents. Now don’t get us wrong – of course, it was the right call, in light of the current situation. Desperate situations do call for desperate measures and so, it is left to us to make the best of this situation.
Now, this might come as a bit of a challenge to a number of us because we do need to carry on with our daily tasks as well think of how to strike that balance with our children as well….hmmm.
Now this new situation will come with a good number of challenges. For instance, there will be quite a few parents who don’t usually work from home and as such, will have had to get used to that. Then add the supervision of kids on top of that and you’ve got yourself quite a challenge. Now never mind how you are going to cope, but remember we still have to figure out how to make sure our children keep up to speed with their schoolwork/curriculum as well as find ways to keep them entertained and generally keep their schedules filled.
Not to worry. We have asked some of our parents how they’ve been coping and here are some of the responses we got, that we thought we’d share with you.
Stick to the Schedule
“Yes, they might be at home now, but the school term isn’t over yet.” To quote one mum. So, her advice is to keep the school routine going. Children work best when there is a schedule in place, so they know what needs to be done when and where. Draw up a schedule / timetable of what needs to be done within the times slated for work. Some schools have been uploading assignments and tasks to their Homework Platforms, which might be the best place to start. Go through the homework schedule and see what has been given and when it needs to be handed in. This serves two purposes:
Be sure to discuss the schedule for the following day either at the end of the previous day, or at the beginning of the day in question. Observe the breaks, as per how they are usually organised at your child’s school. Stick to the usual school hours or have everyone start work at the same time. This will also make the children understand that during that period, everyone will be busy ‘working’
Keep up with the Curriculum
As we know, the schools were shut down during the term. This means there is a lot of unfinished business as far as the curriculum goes. In as much as some children have been receiving assignments from school, others mightn’t have and in the case of those that have, some aspect still has to be taught, memories refreshed and new concepts introduced. Yes, talk about adding to the already daunting challenges. But hey – we have to do what we have to do right…?
But if we could think about it for a minute, we’ve all heard of that parent who withdrew their child from school in order to homeschool him/her. Or that child that attends the same extra-curricular activity as your child, but is being homeschooled during the week.
Perhaps this is the chance try something new - to explore things you wouldn't normally have time for. Start with subjects you can easily do at home, such as reading, and any other subject your child has been learning at school. You could possibly go down the less orthodox route and do more of research and discussion of these topics/concepts with your child. This could then be taken further, to include mini-projects/role play etc. This could very easily become a fun activity for all!
Have some family fun
We know that children need a lot of physical activity in their days, the same can also be said for adults. Laughter and fun can reduce stress hormones and increase bonding hormones. Bearing that in mind, schedule a time in the day when the whole family comes together for a fun/physical activity. This could be anything from an exercise/dance activity or game to an activity in the garden (ball game etc.) as long as it’s something you will all enjoy. Have everyone involved in the decision-making process as this will ensure everyone is on board with whichever activities are done.
Incorporate some ‘downtime’ into the routine
In the same way that the family comes together to have fun and de-stress, it is just as important for the family to have some time away from each other. Time to wind down and maintain the sanity of the household. The children can go off to their rooms to read a book or play quietly, while the parents also find a calming activity to indulge in.
Cut down on screen time
Don’t be tempted to stick your child in front of screens for hours on end during the day, in order to get their own work done. This is neither healthy nor fair to your child. Your child deserves more of an active role from you, as the parent, especially if they're missing school. Having said that, you can’t ban the screens outright, so it would be reasonable to let them have a half-hour (or whatever amount of time is set by you) a day. This should, however, be once all of their tasks have been completed: household chores, schoolwork, reading assignments etc.
The screen time rules should be made clear and agreed from the onset, to avoid your child coming to you at random times of the day to see if they can get some extra time with the screen. You might also let them know that such acts could lead to them losing the privilege altogether.
Get creative or revisit abandoned hobbies
Get creative and imaginative. This would be a great time to reinforce the ‘Recycling Act’ in the home. Have a container or bag, where all the recyclables are stored. These can be used for a lot of craft tasks by the children or the family as a whole. Encourage them to go wild with their imagination and create their best pieces yet!
Get cooking and baking with simple recipes - cookies and bread, simple dinners such as homemade pasta and homemade sauce, vegetable soup, and pasta sauce. Put a family menu timetable together and assign individual tasks. This also goes for the parents - return to abandoned projects, stalled hobbies, unread books and other neglected intentions, and go beyond where you went with them before – strengthen your resolve and make a go of it this time. This is a great way to manage the situation during a period of isolation. Instead of seeing your home as this claustrophobic space, lacking entertainment and stimulation, try to see the positives and potentials – see it as this vault of treasures waiting to be mined. Dig out those old board games, puzzles with a 1000 plus pieces, you abandoned out of frustration, those musical instruments gathering dust. Bring them all out and breathe life into them again, with your kids.
Keep the spirits up
In these unprecedented times, it's important to remain positive, especially in front of young children. Limit the amount of news your child is exposed to and you can update yourself in private. Children are quite good at reflecting what they sense in their parents so try to be mindful of what you say and how you express yourself in relation to the current situation. Make the best of the situation, just as others have done before us throughout history for different reasons.
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