(Teacher and Author)
It’s a tough time around the Globe. Let’s all take a big deep breath and think about what is important. As a mum I think mental health at this stressful is the most important thing. Even though your child might be calm, they may be internalising their feelings. That being the case, it may be a good idea to talk about how it’s normal to be feeling unsure when things change in our World. Validate their feelings but ensure that your child knows they are safe and supported by people who love them.
Schools is part of a child’s daily routine and this predictability makes them feel safe. Try to plan so that their bedtime and waketime routines are maintained. Plan your week with your child and negotiate times to be learning and playing. Explain what will happen the following day as you tuck your child into bed. Keeping predictable routines will help your child feel secure.
Even if you don’t notice your child being angry, anxious, confused, fearful or erratic, consider guiding your child to practise mindfulness. It is a helpful practice to slow us all down from our busy world and to feel our bodies through our senses. This can be done as a family or, on their own (ensuring that their internet use is being monitored at all times.)
Fun with Language
Pull out their favourite movie and ask them to write , as a ‘word detective’ all the ‘beautiful/special/amazing’ words they hear the characters say. It doesn’t matter if the spelling is wrong. The focus is engaging our kids in the development of rich vocabulary and by noticing the spoken language in an engaging visual text (a movie.)
If your child is learning another language, try to play the same movie (a known visual text) and the watch the movie with that other language (DVDs have this capacity in the menu.) Watch it together and try repeating the phrases you hear and what the meaning might be. Are the words similar to English? Do some words seem universal?
Some schools have been preparing to teach online. If your child’s school is not going down the webinar route, you might feel frustrated. However, asking your child’s teacher for worksheets and extra work to teach new things to your kids could prove daunting for your child and problematic at home. Have you considered that your child’s teacher might be at home looking after their own kids and won’t be able to correct hundreds of worksheets upon their return to school? Homework shouldn’t be about teaching new things to kids. Try Nessy
If you have teacher training, then you might know where to go next, with your child’s learning. If a lockdown’ is prolonged, trawl the internet and find suitable links to pick up on what your child has been learning at school. Focus on Numeracy and STEM vocabulary.
Listening to audiobooks though your local library. Download an app to access engaging FREE eBooks online. You can access the catalogue with your child and decide what to borrow for a three-week spell. This is fun learning!
- Cook a meal with your child (discuss the fractions in recipes without making it a test)
- Encourage them to write emails to their friends
- Listen to music from around the world or an ancient melody from years ago
- Access lyrics online and read them as a song is played (but first check the language)
- Pick up a guitar (if there is one at home) and learn a few chords
- Research an area of interest with your child
- Do some gardening (if allowed) and get some vitamin D
- Play board games as a family
- Make a doll’s house out of shoeboxes. Check out Pinterest for crafty ideas
- Build a deck of cards (and estimate how many cards it will take to topple down)
- Return to practising mindfulness (make it a daily routine)
- Talk to other parents and ask what activities they are enjoying at home
- Play dress-ups with siblings and make up a short play
Remember that YOU also need to practise self-care at this challenging time. It’s character building for your child, to set the expectation that they will need to occupy themselves for say, each afternoon between 2 and 5pm. If they are bored, tell them it’s a time to be inventive. It’s a time to be flexible.
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