Parenting in a pandemic - how to support your child

The pandemic has changed life as we know it -we have all had to make some adjustments! And if you’re a parent, these adjustments might have been two fold for you – adjusting to working from home, and to supporting your kids daily with learning and other activities to keep them motivated and positive through this tough economic time. Well done for making it this far – you’re doing a good job.

While some schools have/are reopening, we understand why some parents are choosing to continue home-schooling their kids and why some will need to return to school. This will require an effort on your part as a parent – to support your kids, whether they are going back to school or will continue learning online from home. We know that things haven’t been easy, so we’ve put together some tips to help make this transition a little less of a hassle for you. Whether your kid is going to school or staying home, here’s how you can support them.

How to support your child going to school

The return to school might make many parents and learners anxious, so these tips might help you navigate this new territory better as a parent supporting your kids.

  1. Have an open discussion with him/her

    Going back to school after being home for such a long time can make any child feel uneasy. One way to support your child, is by having an open chat about what it is they look forward to about going back to school, what is making them excited, worried, or anxious, and giving them the emotional support. Go through some of the changes they should expect at school, like the need to wear masks, sanitising, washing of hands, and social distancing. You could encourage them to find other ways to bond and connect with their friends at school while adhering to the social distancing restrictions of the country.
  1. Pack healthy meals and all protective essentials

    While schools are reopening, Covid-19 is still here, so it’s important that your children remain healthy, safe and protected. A great way to ensure this, is to check and pack their daily essentials to school. This includes a healthy lunch box so that they avoid going to the tuckshop, and ensuring that you have packed some wipes or a sanitizer in their bag. Then, you would need to go through what is in the bag with your child, so that they are aware of the protective measures they have at their disposal while they are at school.
  1. Pay attention

    It’s easy to overlook certain things or to get preoccupied with work and running the family that you miss some of the signs of your child not being well. This could be emotional, mental or physical wellness. When your child goes/returns to/from school, check how they are feeling, study their moods and check if there’s any noticeable changes. This will help you to pick up any signs of illness very quickly and give you a good chance to address and support your child before it goes out of hand. 

How to support your child’s learning at home

Learning from home and supporting your kids in this process might take some adjustments, but these tips can help make this transition simpler for you.

  1. Create a routine and structure of learning at home

    Depending on your child’s age and their style of learning, you might need to work with him/her to plan their daily learning. Creating a routine is a great way of establishing normality because their routines have been disrupted. Be sure to include breaks and give them an opportunity to choose between learning topics or subjects.
  1. Support their physical, emotional, mental needs

    It’s important to take care of your child’s physical, mental and emotional needs while they are learning from home. In your daily schedule, set some time for physical activity that your child can pick and help to set up. You could even use this as a learning option to support his learning. From an emotional point of view, having regular open and honest conversations about their feelings, is a great way to support them emotionally and mentally. Also, help your child stay connected to his/her friends by encouraging check-ins with them over the phone. This will help support them mentally and emotionally too.
  1. Stay in touch with his/her teachers

    Learning from home isn’t easy, for both parents and the learners, but there’s help – teachers. Keep in touch with your child’s teachers/school to make sure that the learning your child is going through at home is following curriculum and that he/she isn’t falling behind. Staying in touch with teachers will also give you a better idea of how your child is performing, which is a great indicator of whether he/she needs more support emotionally, mentally or otherwise. Parent groups or community groups can also be a good way to support each other with your home schooling.           

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