By Danielle McKenna
Answer any questions they have to the best of your ability. Don’t lie, children are smarter than you think. Their intuition is, more often than not, more honed than ours, so don’t break their trust when they’re already feeling strange
Routine. With home schooling I truly believe routine will save us. Yesterday I started a timetable for Sadie and I. She is 5 so phonics and basic maths are important, but so is being creative and free time. I have tried to include 3 choices for each lesson so she can feel involved in decision making on what her day looks and feels like too. I haven't yet received the guidance from school, and am sure this will be great, but it helped me to take the lead on how our days will be structured.
Don’t push it. At the moment the only thing that matters is that they feel loved, safe and secure. If it’s a battle getting them to sit down and learn then take a break. The last thing you need is to feel more stressed too. If it’s a cuddle and a film you all need then go with it.
Move. If you have a garden try and get outside whatever the weather. Nature is so soothing and a constant whatever we are facing. Nature can reset our souls. (Sadie and I are going to be planting seeds together). Joe Wicks is offering P.E lessons for children at 9.00 every day on his YouTube channel to encourage movement. God bless Joe Wicks!
Limit screen time. This goes for all of us. I found myself glued to the tv yesterday and all it did was increase my anxiety. Tune in for the important announcements but don’t have the drama played out constantly. Children will pick up on this too and not all stories are helpful or even relevant.
Get creative and play. Use those paints at the back of the cupboard, play that board game gathering dust and do that puzzle you don’t usually have the time and patience for. Colouring can also be so mindful for adults as well as children. Encourage story telling and reading together.
See this time to rest and reset as a gift for your family. I personally am thrilled I get some concentrated time with my daughter where we will bond and have fun together without the pressing engagements of every day life. She has no idea about mummy's den making abilities, but she soon will . . .
Schedule alone time. I am going to attempt to get 30 mins to myself a day (not including evenings after bedtime) where Sadie will know that mummy needs to be quiet. Wish me luck!!
Virtual play dates. As we are in a state of isolation they will be missing their friends. Schedule some FaceTime or let them send voice notes or silly videos to each other. My neighbour and I have already scheduled a glass of wine over the fence for next Thursday. Can you do the same for your children? Also, connect your children with your elderly relatives over the phone, FaceTime and Skype. We need each other now more than ever.
Look for the beauty and the silver linings, I promise you they are there. Notice the days when the sun is shining, notice spring started to unfold in the garden. Practise gratitude as a family, have meaningful conversation, impart wisdom, tell stories about your childhood and theirs, and just cherish one another.