Children’s mental health week is arguably more important this year than any other. With children unable to return to schools, their normal routines have been disrupted and many younger children, who may not fully understand the magnitude of the pandemic, might be conflicted about their feelings and be left unable to express them.
Although homeschooling presents new challenges, organisation is key in creating a smooth transition that supports the wellbeing of both parents and, more importantly, children. Ensure you set aside time for activities to help mental wellbeing.
Set aside time to catch up with friends and family
Allowing your child to use technology to keep in touch with friends can be a great way to help them cope with feelings of isolation and anxiety. You could schedule some time each day to let them video call a friend or family member, which would also help to take pressure off you as the main carer. You could even arrange calls with other parents and try a virtual playdate with their children and yours.
You could also take the time to set up a reading hour, where you read with your children or have them read to you or to grandparents over video as a way of encouraging spending more time together.
Plan their day
Keeping your child to a set routine is one of the most useful ways in ensuring that they are engaged and keeping on task. Don’t put pressure on yourself in trying to make it perfect but try to create a schedule that follows a similar pattern to one they’d have at school.
Ask them what they’d like to do
Talking to your children about their interests can help you think of creative ways to cater their learning specifically for them. It can be quite draining for them to be sat inside all day doing tasks that don’t interest them, so letting them choose the work can help put their minds at ease and help them keep up with hobbies that they enjoy.
Keep them active
Any physical activity is a key part of looking after out mental wellbeing. Providing that the weather is decent, take your children on a walk or give them plenty of time to play in the garden. If this isn’t an option, give them their own space where they can play indoors.
Talk to them about what’s going on and how they feel
Depending on how young they are, they probably don’t understand why they have to stay home or how to express their feelings about it. Keep communication open and provide a space for them to talk through their concerns, whilst reassuring them that it’s okay to feel whatever they’re feeling.
If you need more guidance supporting your child through the pandemic, help can be found here.
By Sarah Ward