We’ve been in lockdown for around a month now, and nobody is sure when things will go back to "normal” - some say schools may go back after May half term; others think we could be homeschooling for an entire term, with children not returning to schools until September.
Either way, most people seem to be in agreement that this half term will be spent at home. Most schools are providing some work now, but for many parents the main concern is how well their children are faring emotionally.
Many children will be struggling with limited contact with extended family and friends, as well as being confined to the house. Even for those with a garden, not being able to just go out when you feel like it can take its toll over time.
Here are a few resources that could help during this time:
Video calls with friends. Try and make phones, tablets or laptops available for video calls with friends as often as possible. Our children are used to being at school for 6 or more hours per day, surrounded by their friends and teachers. Obviously they can’t go and physically spend time with them, but video calls can help to bridge that gap - even if they only talk nonsense or pull faces with each other!
Make time for non-school activities. Remember that in a homeschool environment, you can pack more learning into a shorter space of time. An hour-long geography lesson in a classroom might only take 30-45 minutes at home, without class discussions, group activities and of course interruptions. Therefore, your child’s school day is unlikely to take as much time as a normal school day. It’s important to bear this in mind and to allow plenty of time for letting off steam and relaxing away from the learning environment. This might be games in the garden, baking or perhaps sewing or even just colouring.
Remember physical exercise. There are plenty of free exercise classes available on YouTube, but many children may not be interested in doing "exercise” in such a formal way. They may prefer to play with a skipping rope in the garden, to bounce on a trampoline or to dance to music. Consider how much physical activity they would normally get over the course of a day, and try to ensure this amount is still available in whichever form works for your child.
Physical contact. One thing many of us are missing is physical contact. From shaking hands to hugging to just playfully punching each other on the shoulder to say hello, none of this is available to us at the moment outside of the family home. Many children may not want to admit they need a hug or are missing physical contact - they may not even be aware that a lack of touch is what’s causing their bad mood. Offering a hug can go a long way, but so can things like play fighting or other activities that involve touch. Human beings are social animals and our mental and emotional health can suffer if we do not feel that connection with each other.