Home Working, Home Schooling & Child Welfare Guide
Monday, January 11, 2021
Monday, January 11, 2021
In a slight departure from the usual legal and HR focussed articles we thought, in light of the latest lockdown and its implications for working parents we provide a piece that may support your staff in such a position. Please feel free to share this with your employees if you think it may offer some insight and support at this very difficult time.
Here we are again, feels all the world like Groundhog-day! Schools closed, and children are back to homeschooling and living their lives in a national lockdown – not able to play their favourite sports, see their friends or even hug their grandparents.
As adults we all know the effects of lockdown, but what about the wellbeing of children? Are they afraid they will fall behind at school? Will they become nervous when they are allowed back outside?
We need to help and support our children through these unprecedented times, encouraging them and reassuring them that it is ok not to be ok, and that they have someone to talk to if they need the support.
Although children are aware of why this is happening – to keep them and their friends and family safe and to slow the spread of Covid-19, they also need to be made aware of the importance of their mental health – what it is, what happens if there are issues with it and how to help someone if they see that they are having a difficult time. Although over half of children are happy to speak about mental health and wellbeing to their parents in general, it may ring alarm bells with others, as it could potentially mean that their child is going through this themselves.
It is certainly a challenge but what steps can we take as a parent to prevent our children having worries over their mental health, knowing the signs in case their friends have issues, and how we can support them through this journey?
Talk about feelings and worries
Not all children can talk to their parents about how they are feeling, which can be a worry. Instead of asking them to talk to you, why not ask them to write it down, or for younger children, draw a picture of how they are feeling. By doing this, you can then ask them questions about what they have written or drawn, and this alone can get your child to open up about how they are feeling.
Keep in touch with friends or family
We know that this is not possible face-to-face during a national lockdown, but there are other ways that children can keep in touch with their friends and loved ones. To interact with their friends, why not arrange a Zoom or Microsoft Teams get together, where children can just sit and have a chat, or even better, why not get the children to play a game or create a quiz. This can keep their minds busy and act as a distraction from what they are facing.
Create structure and routine
Although this may be difficult while we are currently locked down, having structure in your child’s life can be reassuring, and can avoid any type of anxiety. Wake your child up when they would normally wake for school and have the same structure as they would if they were attending school; have break times and lunch times at the time they would at school, try and keep the lessons the same length as if they were at school and their after-school routines as normal as possible.
Help give children a sense of control
To help your children through these unprecedented times, there are a lot of free tools online that can help your child gain control of their mental health and feel like they are back in control. Although the information about Covid-19 is somewhat daunting for children, let them read about it or watch it on the news. In some way, this may give your child comfort, by knowing what Covid-19 is, what effects it is having and how they can help to slow the spread. This can then be incorporated into their daily routine, as they have been taught at school, and could potentially help to relieve some stress and anxiety.
Encourage your child to take up yoga
Children participating in yoga as part of their exercise routine can improve their physical and mental health. They can become more flexible, become stronger, improve their balance and breathing control. It is also great for improving focus and concentration, building their self-confidence and helps to reduce stress and anxiety. There are studies which have shown that it can help children with ADHD as it assists in helping to relax and unwind. There is a vast range of yoga classes featured on YouTube, where both children and their parents can join in the fun. Kids yoga is all about playfulness, imagination and movement; and children do not know that they have completed a full workout by doing this type of exercise.
Learning Styles and Development
However your child is feeling through this current lockdown, let them know that you are here for them and that you are on their side. Parents naturally have children’s mental health and wellbeing at the forefronts of our minds, and it is difficult to talk to your child when they think that they can’t share their feelings. All you need to know is to be patient, stay calm, and let them know that everything will be ok. And although you are looking out and caring for your child’s mental health and wellbeing, you need to remember that you need to look after yourself as well, because if your mental health and wellbeing is not level, then this will reflect on your child.
Everyone has their own preferences and pet hates with learning, gaining new skills and essentially dealing with stress, it’s made somewhat more challenging in these difficult times. It’s important not to overlook your own experiences when growing up, your levels of resilience, when it went well and not so well, responses to bullying or exclusion from groups and remember how certain events made you feel.
Often sharing your own experiences can help to connect with a young person and let them understand that they are neither odd or alone for feeling a particular way. Finding a way to have fun, break up the pressure of learning online and balancing the day is vital. If you find a way to turn learning into a game that can prove a winning way to engage and create a very positive memory for the time your spending together.
With so much time shifting toward online consumption of information for schooling and leisure we need to remember that time away from devices is time well spent too. Finding a hobby, interest and healthy alternative to screen-time will help with reducing anxiety, improve sleeping patterns and ideally give you a mutual reference point to talk freely with your child.
If you are concerned about your current situation, your child’s response to home schooling please don’t worry, you’ll be among thousands of other parents experiencing the same struggle. Engage with the school, ensure your employer is aware of your additional commitments and tap into the multitude of trusted online and offline resources that have emerged to support parents through the pandemic.
- BBC Bitesize. Fantastic resources for kids of all ages, covering all subjects.
- BBC Teach. Live and pre-recorded video lessons from popular BBC presenters.
- Khan Academy. Great online lessons – particularly for maths and science subjects.
- The Artful Parent
Health and Wellbeing Counselling Session – Coping as a Family During Lockdown
Watch now: https://youtu.be/iXhrJTE1p9o