I have seen a whole bunch of brilliant and useful blog posts and articles online that have focused on helping parents during this strange and confusing time. A lot of the articles I have read have given great tips on how to create an effective home lockdown schooling area, how to plan a routine that works for you, how to home school your children effectively, and how to juggle school work and your own work.
One type of post I haven’t seen, and one I think is really important, focuses a lot more on mental health and how we, as parents, need to ensure we’re looking after ours and our children’s while embarking on this big old remote learning journey.
There are a few things that I think are really worth remembering when it comes to lockdown schooling during this pandemic. This is the UK’s 3rd national lockdown due to COVID-19 and it is proving to be an extremely overwhelming time for everyone. Taking a step back, breaking our days down into manageable chunks and changing our perspectives can really help when it comes to our family’s well being.
If you’re looking for ways to help make your lockdown schooling days easier and alleviate stress at home, keep reading. I’ve put together 4 mantras that are worth remembering and repeating to yourself when times get tough. I hope you find them useful – feel free to share them or tag us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
Remember: you’re not your child’s usual teacher.
Yes, ‘teacher’ is your acting role currently, but remember that you are NOT your child’s full time, qualified and specialist teacher. Even if you are a teacher, it’s likely that you aren’t the one who usually teaches your child during term time. Children behave completely differently when at school – they spend their day trying to stay in complete control of their emotions and respect their teachers and peers, only to often release all that pent up energy once they get home. This is fairly common, so remember not to take it to heart if your child has a hard time directing the same amount of focus your way as they would their teacher while at school.
Teaching is a hugely important job that requires lots of training – it’s okay if it doesn’t come naturally to you. It’s okay if you have explained a task 3 times and it’s still not going in. It’s okay if you can feel your blood pressure rising with every minute that passes by while your child messes around instead of focuses. All of this is normal – infuriating maybe – but normal. Which leads me to my next point…
Remember: don’t stress yourself out – you and your kids are both doing your best.
Although getting annoyed is a natural response to your child’s irritability when you’re trying to help them, it’s a good idea to ask yourself whether or not that will help the situation. Being irritated with your child won’t make them work harder, or better, and it won’t make either you or your children feel any happier. So instead of letting that bad mood brew, take a step back and remove some of the pressure.
If you can’t get through every lesson of the day, it really doesn’t matter. You’re just a parent, at home, juggling your work, your children’s work and everything else in life. You don’t need to put all this added pressure on yourself by convincing yourself that you need to tick every task off every day. Fit bits in where you can, work around the needs of you and your family and concentrate on trying to ensure that learning stays fun. If something just isn’t clicking, don’t stress – move on and come back to it later.
Remember: be kind to yourself (and your children).
It is so easy to feel frustrated when your child lacks focus; trust me, I’ve been there. But it’s important to remember that during these crazy times, it’s not easy for our kids either. They’re battling their own problems, and just because they’re smaller humans, doesn’t mean their issues are any less important. Many children have been struggling with their self esteem since being out of school, as well as a host of other mental health issues, so being mindful of your child’s mental health, as well as your own, is important.
Working from home is an extremely distracting environment, especially if they’re used to sitting in a classroom and focusing all their attention on their teacher. At home, there are comforts like blankets and snacks, there are pets, siblings, TVs, bikes, scooters, and tablets! Essentially, there are a hundred things around them that the kids would probably rather be doing – it takes a lot to sit there and practice your times tables while your brother sits there and watches Baby Shark on repeat on the tablet.
Remember: a lot of people struggle to make time for 1-on-1 moments with their children during lockdown.
The problem that the government has forgotten to take into account is that parents often have more than one child. Quite often, those children are of school age and are in different years and different classes. Us parents have to somehow divide our time between children, offering help, setting up zoom meetings and encouraging kids to have a go at the task when they’re feeling a bit unsure. All of this takes time – quite literally, it can take the entire day. It’s no wonder that kids and parents are getting stressed out if that’s what everyday life is like.
Making time for your children individually is something that I know a lot of parents are struggling with. It is easier said than done, but trying to make time for each child that has nothing to do with their schooling can really benefit yours and your children’s mental health.
Download and print this FREE lockdown Home Ed poster out and pop it somewhere you’ll see it frequently. Practice repeating the mantras to yourself and remembering the words. Whenever you feel like you’re struggling with lockdown schooling, take a look and remind yourself that you’re doing a great job.
I hope you’ve found these little mantras helpful! The goal of this post was to inject some realistic advice into the online world in regards to educating your children at home. I’ve seen so many posts across Twitter and Instagram that show shiny, happy parents and children doing their home learning. Although this is lovely to see, it’s important for us to remember that real life isn’t always the same as what we see on social media.
You’re not alone.
If you’re struggling, I want you yo know you’re not alone! My DMs have been full of parents over the past week or so who have had a few wobbles. It’s normal and it’s okay; you’re doing great – remember that!