Well, it’s happened, the schools are closed. Not for our essential key workers who are battling this thing out on the front line daily, and who need our thanks, appreciation and gratitude in bucket loads, but for us lesser mortals who are able to work from the comfort of our homes schools are closed. We face a different battle from today…. working from home while simultaneously home-schooling, entertaining and feeding the kids! And for how long?? No one knows!!!
So here are 5 top tips for those of us that are feeling apprehensive, totally overwhelmed and daunted by this unquantifiable period of time, which is likely to be nearer 2 months than 2 weeks:
1.Plan a structure for your day – I refer back to my previous blog – Coronavirus: how to survive 2 weeks at home with the kids. Giving yourself and the children a timetable for the day, much like you would at school and in the office, gives you all a focus. The kids will feel safer knowing that you have everything under control and you have an answer for those predictable questions – ‘what are we doing today?’, ‘what are we doing tomorrow?’, ‘when’s snack time?’ I particularly like this timeline I found online, all the basic subjects covered! ;o)
2. Find some time to exercise. Sitting for hours in front of a screen, be it your work laptop or the kids’ tablet, is no good for anyone. It can impair vision, cause headaches and give you a hunchback. Set a timer for every 30 mins to encourage you to leave your screen and spend 10 minutes moving and stretching or have a quick competition with the kids walking around the house/garden and see who can get the greatest step count in 10 minutes! You could even start each morning together with Joe Wickes and his 9 am PE lesson – own the morning, own the day!
3. Get dressed each day. Might seem an obvious thing to say but it is important to separate sleep from work/school. The temptation to slob around in PJs all day will be there but if you get dressed it will help put you in the right mindset for your tasks that day. Putting the kids in their school uniform might be a step too far but you never know it might help some to focus on the projects that have been set by the schools. You can always make Sunday a PJ day!
4. Be patient with each other. There is real potential for us as parent’s to put pressure on ourselves to home school our children but, most of us, are not qualified teachers. We may have a great expectation of how our children will follow a timetable we set out for them or build with them and in reality, they may not comply with this. In this unprecedented time we are all worried, adults and children alike. Our world as we know it has changed. Our behaviours will change as our new day to day norm sets in and frustrations grow with not being able to see or spend time with our friends, families and loved ones. It is then that we need to be patient with each other, set the work and school projects aside (work to be picked up later when the kids are having screentime or are in bed!) and talk, give comfort, play a game, read a story. Help each other to feel safe.
5. Be clear about the division of labour. If you are in a family household and one of you is at home when they usually aren’t it is a good idea to have the chat about who is doing what. It got to 7pm the other night before we realised that the kids hadn’t been fed! Why the kids weren’t hanging off our legs exclaiming ‘We’re hungry!!’ from 4.30pm, as is the norm, I’ll never know. But then, these are not normal times!!!