Not being a parent myself, I thought I should try to find some expert tips on how to manage little ones to help our community during the quarantine.
TIP 1 – KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON:
We know it is not business as usual, but children and young people need as much stability as possible, especially during such uncertain times. They look to us, the adults to model how they should respond in the current pandemic and our words and actions, are powerful ways to provide this re-assurance.
Keeping calm requires us to be aware of our own anxieties, restrictive beliefs and habitual behaviours that act as personal barriers to a sense of inner peace. Self-inquiry and reflection helps you to establish what these ideas and actions are.
TIP 2 – CREATE A TIMETABLE:
Structure a week for your child that replicates a school week. Set them a timetable with start and end time, with breaks in between. Map out the learning they will be doing. Factor in movement breaks. If you’re not confident or have time constraints to do this effectively, outsource this service.
TIP 3 – CREATE OR REFRESH VISION BOARDS:
We often use holiday time to update our vision boards. We have trained our children in the use of vision boards to help keep them focus on personal as well as family goals. Over the last couple of years we have been experimenting this with our children and every time we do this, the process of designing or updating these vision boards is always an engaging, inspiring and entertaining family time. This time of self-isolation could be a great time for such activities. Once again I would be happy to share more on this if required.
TIP 4 – USE DAILY POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS :
Repeat positive powerful affirmations 3 times out loud together with your children, for example:
- I cherish the extra time I get to spend with my family and I am excited about creating more happy, unforgettable memories.
- I focus on opportunities over obstacles.
- I was created to blossom in my natural gifts and talents.
- I love my body for all the things it is able to do.
TIP 5 – ENCOURAGE LITERACY
As a Primary School Teacher of 10+ years experience, I’ve witnessed on numerous occasions a slight decline in children’s attainment in regards to their Literacy in Reading and Writing after half terms and long summer breaks. A quick tip to reduce this from happening while their school and normal teaching routine is on halt, is to read daily and then write a short summary of what they have read.
World Book Online have a fabulous collection of over 3,000 eBooks for children to access at home for FREE. They have books suitable for all ages and if your child is not quite the reader that’s OK, they also have audio-books and then he/she can still give a summary of what they have just heard.
Have an amazing time exploring the world of books!
1. Choose any book of interest
2. Read aloud OR listen to audio book
3. Discuss what has been read
4. Encourage child to use key vocabulary picked up in the text
5. Child then writes a short summary of what has been read or listened to
TIP 6- MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU!
Depending on the age of your children, they will need your attention throughout the day. If this is the case, and your work allows you to, you could divide your working hours throughout the day. Perhaps work a few hours in the morning, some in the afternoon and then in the evening. I find sticking to the morning routine stops children (and myself) from getting into holiday or weekend mode. You can of course wake up a little later but stick your usual morning routine
TIP 7 – SET EXPECTATIONS
Sticking to a routine that means they don’t sleep in and they don’t go to bed late will be paramount. I advise starting as you mean to go on by setting the ground rules early with regards to expectations around school work and playtime. For me it’s an opportunity to really get to know my children and spend time with them whilst not compromising my careers and the business.
TIP 8 – CREATE BONDING EXERCISES
This is a great time for bonding self-care and doing fun stuff that everyone can enjoy.
1) Make shampooing and conditioning time fun and educational.
It’s cost effective and benefits your hair, using ingredients we all may have already at home. Make a Coconut Milk deep conditioning treatment or Egg conditioner (with any leftovers)
2) Look up for what fruits and Veg are good for healthy hair growth. Then make smoothies!
TIP 9 – IMPROVE TODDLER DEVELOPMENT !
The Kinedu App has activities to help your toddler develop hand coordination & also helps to keep your toddler entertained while not at nursery. Engaging in activities you can do together, in turn helps to reduce any anxiety you may have. Subscription can be cancelled at any time.
TIP 10 – LISTEN!
We all know that children ask a lot of questions and as parents we can easily zone out ignoring the constant nagging sounds of “Mummy, mummy, muuummmmy!…look what I can…” (Daddies get it too), However, it’s always important, but more so now during these time of uncertainty that our children feel heard, so practice those active listening skills that we use so well with our colleagues, “Yes son/daughter, that’s great, I need to think about this, I’ll answer you when I’ve found out the answer.
TIP 11 – VARIETY IS KEY!
- Sign up to Oxford Owl to access free e-books tailored to age.
- Get older children to pair up socks to hone pattern recognition and practice their two-times table in a practical way.
- Try online Martial Arts for children to encourage physical activity and new friendships.
TIP 12 – BE HONEST
I initially didn’t want to tell my son what was going on in the world – but his school informed him and he came home one day last week very distressed and worried.
Considering that the virus is something that is spoken about everywhere we go, it is likely your child already as an idea of what’s going on and will understandably be concerned.
- Remember you are the expert when it comes to your child – you will know if they feel like talking or not – gauge their behaviour and level of understanding
- My son is young so his online access is extremely limited but for older children you may want to limit their access to social media or news reports.
- I’d suggest to start by asking them what they know. Based on their response, explain the situation in a non-alarming age appropriate and honest manner. Let them know you understand their concerns and they are not alone
- Your child looks to you for comfort during times when they are uncertain and distressed etc – encourage them to continue express their feelings
It’s so important for us to acknowledge our children’s mental health too.
TIP 13 – WORK OUT TOGETHER!
Try and get children involved with your daily activities. If you usually do a morning workout; let them do it with you. You could also try finding new methods of relaxation such as deep breathing, mindfulness or meditation. As well as being great ways of calming the mind and relieving stress, they are all activities children can get involved in too.
TIP 14 – DIET AND NUTRITION: (EAT)
This is a great time to get creative with food, especially stocks and supplies are a bit limiting in your area. Consider healthy nutritious meals that will boost the immune system, rather than baking and creating ’sugar highs’ that you can’t control!
TIP 15 – BE INTENTIONAL
Be intentional about spending quality time and eat together
Bake together with the children, let the children choose recipes and get them involved in the whole process and measurements can help children learn about maths and measures. Cuddle together and watch their favourite movies. Read introduce them to your favourite books or authors. Have a family party with dimmed lights or disco lights or in house picnic. Play music introduce them to some classics, songs and have daughter and daddy dance or son and mother dance or a dance-off or karaoke. Laugh lots and don’t take your selves too seriously.
TIP 16 – CONSIDER YOUR OWN WELL BEING
Organize for some time alone. Build this into your collaborative timetable. It could be reading, pampering or exercise. Looking after your well-being is paramount.
Socialize online with other parents via Whatsapp, Zoom, Facebook or any other social media accounts. It makes you feel less isolated and they can give you great tips for coping.
If need help with supporting your child’s learning, contact their teacher. They/we feel flattered when you draw upon our expertise.
TIP 17 – SEEK HELP AND SET BOUNDARIES
If you have a partner at home, an older child or even a friend to support. NOW is the time to ask for help and drop the guilt, people pleasing and wanting to be nice tendencies. This will not only benefit you, but everyone around you if you work together. And with this in mind DO set boundaries – between work and home life, meal times and relaxation, or when you take charge of certain tasks and when others do.
TIP 18 – HAVE A LEARNING MINDSET
Set the mindset for learning. Every morning set daily targets and have motivational quotes to enthuse your child. Where possible display these on the wall, to create a positive environment for learning.
Allow your child to be creative, explore and ask questions. You don’t have to know all of the answers but it promotes the critical thinking
I hope that those tips will help you to keep firing on all cylinders, remember these are unusual and unprecedented circumstances. You are not a teacher (and even if you are you aren’t usually responsible for your own child’s full time education) so do not beat yourself up if you do not know an answer to a question or Pythagoras’ theorem (remember that!)… not many of us do.
Do what you can, to the very best of your ability!
They might not thank you now, but they will later.