With school life already looking a little different for most during the first few weeks, we’ve been looking at ways to help us all settle into the new routines.
In challenging times like these, we can take comfort in the notion that none of us have been here before, and we’re all trying to navigate change as best we can. To use a clichéd phrase, ‘we’re in this together’, and so we can all share advice, tips and support for each other and our children.
For some children, the start back to school will have been a welcomed change of scenery, and for others it may have been met with a little apprehension on what’s to come, and could therefore be taking some time for them to adjust. Many parents will now be wondering how to keep the little ones absorbed in their own lives, enjoying their education, and happy to adapt to the ever-changing scenarios in which we find ourselves.
Here are some top tips on settling back into the (new) routines and keeping the educational enthusiasm strong:
Home Communication. Whether you decide to tell all to your children, or whether you prefer to edit the news, what’s important is lending a listening ear and providing reassurance to little ones with anxiety surrounding the new normal school life.
PPE. Whilst your child may not be expected to wear any PPE themselves, it may be the case that their teachers will be. Spending time to show them the different types of face coverings that are available could be a good way to ease any anxiety of the unknown.
Stop & Start. With the yearly seasonal flu’s and colds almost upon us, there are bound to be a few false starts. – There could be periods of home schooling due to self-isolation for your own family’s symptoms, or even isolation due to other class mates’ symptoms. It’s therefore a good idea to focus on each school day as it comes, and whilst it’s nice to have things to look forward to in the calendar, avoiding talking about too much that’s supposed to happen in the future will hopefully prevent too many disappointments in case things do change.
Live in the moment. If lockdown taught most of us one thing, it has been to live in the present, and not to get too hung up on dwelling on what may be. If you walk to school, play some different games that focus on the present moment, such as Eye spy, or Follow the Leader. These are also great grounding techniques for any anxiety.
Make space for downtime. As adults, we all need space between work and life. The same goes for children. – Try not to ask them lots of questions as soon as their school day has ended. Letting them chill out for 15 minutes at home before chatting about their day allows them time to decompress and settle back into home life.
Be prepared. Whilst it’s not an ideal scenario, we all need to prepare for some periods of home schooling. Whether it’s just for a few days whilst awaiting test results, or a full 2 weeks, it’s good to have a plan (even if it’s not perfect!) for those occasions when we as parents may need to be seriously multitasking even more so than usual. – Even small things like knowing where the children can study whilst you work are good things to have in mind so that you’re not panicking about the practical stuff if the time comes. Other things to consider if you don’t already do them are to create meal plans a week in advance, and prepare lunches the night before, just to take the pressure off.
Create a home study station. Even the simplest of desk set ups can go a long way psychologically in terms of getting work done. If space allows, a desk or table of their own with a small section of wall to stick up some inspirational words or imagery is bound to make things that little bit easier, and a more comfortable space in which to learn.
Desks with space underneath for note books and files can help make the station personal to your child. When looking for children’s desks, selecting well-made options will last them throughout the years of study ahead.
Make a safe haven. Upon returning home from school, their bedroom is their own space. Your child might need some down time, or they might like to get homework out of the way before dinner. Whatever their bedroom’s purpose, whether it’s just for sleep or also studying and relaxing, make it matter. Personalise the room to them, and look for multipurpose furniture to create a comfortable living space. Beds like high sleeper systems (high bunk style beds with a variety of furniture underneath) are fabulous at multitasking in children’s rooms and help create den like rooms that they can really call their own.