Parents please don’t panic – you don’t need to be a teacher – but we need to be educators of a different way of life. We’re going to have to be in this for the long haul – so, if we go ‘all in’ all guns blazing… being like this is maths, science, English, art, play…. we’re going to burn out, emotions will get high and spiral and we may be at loggerheads. It’s going to be a long time so we need to notice and acknowledge our own feelings and anxieties and for our families and to come together to form something that works for everybody.
Parental wellbeing is important during this change and it may be a case that bedtime has to be 8pm (even if they don’t have school) so adults can have their own time as this time could be emotionally draining. If your children are too old for a bed time or you have younger children that are not used to a bed time, then set a rule that it’s adults only in the lounge after a particular time.
Before we start to panic I think it’s important to stop and take notice of what is important and understand what is it that children need to grow into healthy well-adjusted adults. When we take this view, the pressure is reduced and life becomes a lot easier to manage even if we are in total lockdown we can meet these very needs.
Food & drink
A feeling of self-worth
Here are a few things that you can do to ease the pressure and make the most of this time together
Create a time table of the days structure young children have no idea of time and an unplanned day can seem overwhelming. This can lead to anxiety and unwanted behaviour.
Try to keep a routine in the day, it may be tempting to get into the habit of late nights and late bedtimes as there is no need to leave the house but this can cause distress and put pressure on everyone’s mental wellbeing. Having a solid bedtime routine is vital for your wellbeing as you are going to need some adult downtime.
When you plan the day block it into sections so that you do different activities for different times blocks. Doing this will ensure that your child gets a good mix of high energy activity as well as screen time. If you can fill the day with activities that stimulate various parts of the brain you will have a much calmer home.
You can only do your best, try not to compare what you do to the ways of others, social media will be full of people saying they have done a full learning day and even made 6 figures as well as do all the house work. Stay in your lane and focus on what is right for you.
Children will need some time to adjust to this new way of life. The emotions and worries that we are feeling are being felt the same way by our children. All behaviour is communication, yes there will be short tempers and strops and that’s just us adults.
You do not have to be on your own, I have a free Facebook group called Calm Adults And Confident kids where I will be running free wellbeing sessions and lots of teachers have joined the group and will be delivering key lessons for various age-groups covering to the core part of the curriculum to give parents a hand.
With regards to the impact of exams which have been cancelled, as parents we can be reassuring our teenagers that this is happening to all across the country – everyone has hit pause – whatever the decision will be, it will be a level playing field and we have to trust in the process and try not to get anxious over something that we have no control over.