Updated: Apr 9, 2020
The media is bombarding us with information on the ever growing concern of the COVID pandemic and as a parent it will be a testing period. Alongside the financial pressure and unfortunate stress of looking for groceries through multiple different empty shelves in superstores, your kids are now at home - for the foreseeable future.
Unable to leave the house with them, or invite around their friends or family, you may feel at a slight loss as to what you should be doing with them. Suddenly 24 hours in a day might seem like too many as you want the weeks to pass and the risk of catching the virus to subdue. But this blog is here to provide a little guidance, and reassurance.
The first thing to realise is that a time like this, where all schools and exams are cancelled, has not ever happened since exam systems like this were set up in 1988. And the chance of a time period like this happening again, is very rare. So with unlimited time to bond with your kids, to get to know them better and teach them life skills which they wouldn’t otherwise learn at school seems to be the best route to take at this current time.
Firstly, it’s important that they do keep their brains ticking over and slightly engaged with basic school work; some English, Maths and Science. Schools should still be setting work remotely to access from home. For younger students, in KS1, years 3 and 4, this work should not be done in a strict 7 hour school routine. It’ll drive you and your kids crazy. Instead, you can have some fun with the learning material! If they’ve told you to spend the day learning about multiplying big numbers, you can turn it into a game of shopping and purchasing items in bulk (seems to fit with stockpiling whilst in this pandemic). Ultimately, it’s important that they don’t completely lose everything they’ve learnt.
Next, get to know your kids and their characters. As much as we’d like to think we understand our young people perfectly, there’s so much that they’re inquisitive about, and simultaneously lots we can learn from them. If you can spend some time just talking to them, they’ll have the best questions. To get proper answers and engagement will boost their confidence, build their character and they’ll become more well-rounded people. Hopefully, in the future they’ll also be able to look back and reminisce on those six months or so, where they really were able to bond with their families.
And finally, take the opportunity to do things the kids don’t necessarily get the opportunity to do in school. Whilst we have to remain in quarantine, and keep large distances from other groups of people, you can go out to parks, for walks and spend time in the open. You can also get creative in the house. If you’re struggling for ideas, there will be a blog coming up soon with ideas, but another place to look at is the syllabus for the year above that which your child is currently in. So for example, if you have a child in year 1 and you look at the syllabus for year 2, you’ll see you can begin teaching them about vertebrates and invertebrate insects. Whilst in class this topic would have been all theoretical, at home you can take them out and go on a hunt for ‘minibeasts’ or small creatures! How exciting.
The next article will also look at slightly older children and students at secondary school and how they can be spending their time.
The most important thing is to keep safe and to keep washing your hands.