Isolation has come to mean something very different to most of us over recent days and weeks. Before this outbreak most of us associated isolation with the elderly or those who couldn’t easily get out and about. Now almost all of us as self-isolating, in the hope that it will slow the impact of COVID19.
Here is the UK we are at the end of our first real week of isolation. Our schools have been closed, apart from for the children of key workers, since Monday. Teachers are doing an incredible job; sending work home, putting themselves and their families at risk going in to teach those children who have to remain in school, and sharing incredibly supportive messages to help their students through this difficult time. I take my hat off to all of you. So many people pulling together to keep the essential services of our society going.
Understandably many children are finding the changes difficult. They are suddenly being taught by their parents at home, they can’t see thier friends and everything feels a little bit strange.
I wanted to just pop online, to give you some tips to help us all stay sane during this time.
Life is very different for many people at the moment, but here is my advice.
Try to keep a rough routine
Routines give security, especially to younger children. Older children may want to embrace the flexibility that this time gives them, but with Primary aged children I recommend having some structure to the day. Many parents are even reading a register at the start of the day, having playtimes, set lunchtime etc. This makes the day feel more familiar, even if you are having lessons at the kitchen table.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
We are all adjusting to this temporary reality. If your child doesn’t want to do any work today. That’s fine. Give them a cuddle and watch a film. There is plenty of time to catch up on school work, what is important right now is your child’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Get plenty of exercise
Whether it is doing Joe Wick’s Youtube workouts on a morning or having a good dance in the kitchen make sure you are getting plenty of exercise. Exercise reduces your stress levels as well as keeping you physically fit.
I know that we all look forward to those days when we can stay in our pjs and just relax, but we are potentially looking at 12 weeks of pj days. The novelty wears off and it can really adversely impact our wellbeing. I appreciate that we can’t necessarily get our hair cut at the moment, but we can get dressed and make a bit of an effort. It helps us to be more productive and gets us in the right mindset, especially on “school days”.
I am not a huge fan of screen time, but there is a place for it and this might just be one of them. We all escape into our screens when we are stressed if we aren’t careful. Relaxing your screen time rules a little over the coming weeks won’t do any harm. I’m not saying you should let them have screens 24/7 but a little extra time won’t hurt.
Look after your own mental health
Chances are you are focused on your children at the moment, and that is great, but it is so important that you care for your own wellbeing at the moment too. You may be trying to juggle work, home schooling, worrying about; loved ones, what the future holds, finances… Make sure you take time for yourself. Take a few deep breaths if it is all getting too much and be kind to yourself. Everyone is feeling tired, stressed and emotional at times at the moment. Allow yourself to really feel these emotions and don’t give yourself a hard time if you do snap at the children, it happens. Take a deep breath and give yourself a minute then get back to it.
I hope that helps.
The most important thing you can do right now is to love your children and make sure they know that you love them. Take time to play games, watch films, go for walks, spend time in the garden, teach them new skills. This is the perfect time to do all the things you don’t usually have time to do. Embrace the freedom that these restrictions have given many of us in terms of our time.
I also wanted to include a list of all the amazing online resources I have come across to help you occupy your children during this time, so here goes. By all means contact me if you find any that you think I should include:
Free audio books:
David Walliams story time:
Sir Linkalot (Spellings help):
Joe Wicks PE lessons:
Live Q&A sessions with Steve Backshall:
Homework club with Konnie Huq:
Carol Vorderman’s Maths Factor:
Let’s Go Live Science classes:
Oti Mabuse Dance classes:
Edinburgh Zoo webcams:
Wind in the Willows the Musical:
Paris Opera and ballet:
Royal Institute science lectures:
Science with Professor Brian Cox, Robin Ince & Guests:
Don’t forget all the amazing boxed sets on the iplayer.