A joint statement by the main teachers’ unions said that “we cannot home-school the nation’s children”. Many schools have now provided learning packs and have since started some form of online learning. Thereby relying on parents being able to supervise their children.
But what is more important, say educationalists, is maintaining a degree of normality. So, let’s try to give ourselves a bit of a break. Children learn best when they feel safe and loved. How can we create a safe secure environment for our children if we are constantly trying to follow the 9-5 model?
Here are some things I would suggest we focus on
Prioritising our children
Not only do they learn better in a safe, happy and secure environment, they are also looking up to us to gauge our reactions to events. There is a lot of uncertainty in the air.
We’ll just have to accept the following
- Sometimes they are going to be on their screens
Try and talk to them about what they see and hear out there. It is important to give them some autonomy. Let them decide some of their days and give them options on what to do when mom and/or dad are busy.
There is no right and wrong here and leaving this list open on the device that they use most often, could help them find something slightly more educational at least sometimes. There are even sites where they can create a movie or do some ‘Creative Coding’.
- Structure and routine are important
There is safety in structure, especially for children. I’m not saying plan every 5 minutes of the day, but have a structure to your day where you can. A bedtime routine can be such a good time to bond with your child.
- Let your child be bored
It’s actually good for them. Let them take a holiday from it all sometimes. Switch off phones and TV’s and see what they find to keep themselves busy with. After all the moaning has subsided of course.
Look after yourself
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Work just can’t have your full attention at the drop of a hat anymore. In trying to keep things ‘normal’.
They just aren’t. It doesn’t mean you have to freak out or go into a panic of any kind, it just simply means we cannot deny this. Countries have shut their borders and you have been asked to stay home for the foreseeable future, the whole family, mind you and only virtual contact with those outside your family. It’s pretty real and it’s all quite out there.
So get into the bath with a glass of wine or watch reruns of old rugby games if that is what you need to do, but take the time. Or make pancakes with the kids when you can.
Set realistic expectations. You are not just working from home, you are working from home with children.
Set realistic goals
Don’t expect to reach previously set deadlines. We should really be looking at ways to give ourselves a chance to integrate this new way of life. We are not merely working from home, we are working from home with children and there is this strange ‘apocalyptic’ feel to it all.
So, get things done in a way that works for everyone. There is not a one-size-fits-all way we are going to get through this. The important thing here is that we make a conscious effort to make
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying throw everything out the window and become a couch potato.
There are so many ways to up the challenge a bit once this new routine settles in. The amount of (FREE!) resources out there are insane. Looking at it all right now might be a bit overwhelming, but you can always come back to this. You have time.
- Alison – Free online courses from the world’s leading experts.
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Working from Home with Children
Maintain virtual contact. Yes, Zoom meetings are great, but it’s still a meeting. Video calls are a safe and easy way to keep in contact with friends and family. Being connected to others is crucial both for our well-being and survival. Whether it’s messages or calls, it doesn’t really matter. Isolation has its own demons, perspectives of those that think similarly to you might be good for you.
These are unprecedented times, but we have the opportunity to create a better way of life through this all. Let’s be conscious in the process instead of trying to pretend it’s life as usual.
In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.Dave Hollis
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