These times are tricky for all of us but children, especially older children and teenagers, may be feeling extra anxious about the future. With schools closed, exams cancelled and so many limits on their usual lives at the moment, looking after their wellbeing is more important than ever. Here are some tips that may help during this challenging time.
Keeping a routine in place can be really reassuring for children and teenagers, especially during an uncertain time. Their lives are punctuated by school times, home times, meal times and bed times, so sticking to some sort of routine will create predictability and reduce anxiety. The key though is to strike a balance between giving them a daily structure, and keeping them calm too. Don’t expect them to be able to get through as much work as they would during a school day. Find a routine that works for all the family and stick to it.
Help them find a passion
The flexibility of home learning is a chance for your child to focus in on a subject they already love. For example, if they love learning languages, it is a great time for them to focus on expanding their vocabulary without it being limited to one hour per week at school. Or if they enjoy learning about History, set them a project to learn about a particular era that interests them. New learning could help them stay motivated and if they are doing something they enjoy, they are more likely to complete it! Without the rapid pace of school life, they could take the chance to think about their future and research some options for what they’d like to do beyond school, which in turn may help them stay focused about their studies.
Keeping fit and working out can do wonders for our physical health and mental wellbeing. Exercise is a great way to decrease stress and take a break from everyday life. Younger children tend to have loads of energy so have no problem getting in their daily exercise just by constantly being on the move. But older children and teenagers may take more persuading to get them away from their computers or video games, and the key to this is to make exercise fun. Learning a new social media dance is a great way to get exercise in without even realising it!
Keeping in touch with friends is now more important than ever. Children have had the social setting of school taken away from them but talking to friends still needs to be a key part of lockdown life. Teenagers are probably still talking to their friends a lot on their phones, but it is also good for younger children to stay connected to their friends. Scheduling a weekly call or video chat with their friends will enable them to talk about regular things and help them keep some sense of normality during this challenging time. Seeing our friends, albeit over a screen, tends to make us all feel a bit happier.
Whilst attending to your child’s needs, it is very easy to start feeling overwhelmed yourself. Don’t get stressed if you can’t help them with the work they are receiving from school, their teachers will be there to support them with any challenges virtually. Be kind to yourself, even if your child doesn’t complete a worksheet and studying from home hasn’t gone well that day, that’s ok. Tomorrow is a new day.