Nearly 862 million children across the world are missing school because of COVID.
This can have a serious effect on school-aged children. Their lives, routines and habits have suddenly changed, with no certainty about when things will go back to normal.
Right now, every parent's challenge is to keep their children safe and healthy; both physically and mentally.
We’ve put together this guide to highlight some of the challenges that parents and children are facing right now. We’ve included some ideas that can make things easier.
Children are used to – and hugely benefit from - structure. From Monday to Friday, they get up, go to school, take part in their classes, come home, have dinner and go to bed.
School gives them mental stimulation, physical exercise and direction. It also differentiates the weekdays from the weekends, when they can feel more relaxed and enjoy the activities that they choose.
With schools closed and the country going into lockdown, this routine has completely changed. This isn’t like a summer vacation; things have changed suddenly, and we don’t know when it will go back to normal.
It can be difficult for children to adjust to this quickly. The structure that they know is gone, and they can feel lost. To help them make the most of their time, create a schedule for weekdays and weekends. Try to make plans for each day so that children feel engaged with what they’re doing.
School Day Schedule
One way to create structure is to create your own school day schedule on weekdays. This will help to keep your children entertained, active and engaged. It will also make the transition back to school easier in the future.
Try creating a schedule that is similar to your children’s school day. You can create a list of subjects that are usually in the timetable, and work on each of them for around 45 minutes.
Also, include times for your children to reflect on what they’ve learned and how they’re feeling. At unusual times like this, it’s important to encourage children to assess and unpack their emotions.
Many schools and teachers are now offering online lessons. These can be hugely helpful, giving children structure, intellectually challenging them, and allowing them to feel connected. Encourage your children to participate online, keep up with assignments and engage with lessons.
If your children’s school is not offering online classes, there are many websites and online tutoring services that can help you add structure to the day and inspire lessons or activities to challenge your children.
Keeping active will help your children stay physically and mentally healthy. It can also help to keep them calm and improve sleep. Try to encourage your children to move every day, either walking or playing games.
Waking up and Going to Bed
Children usually have regular times that they wake up and go to bed, especially when they’re studying at school. If you can, try to maintain this.
Having regular wake up and bed times means that children will remain well-rested and healthy. This will also make it easier for them to readjust when they do go back to school.
It’s completely understandable that children may have increased anxiety at the moment. Their lives have changed dramatically and without warning, and many struggle to know what they should do.
They may also feel anxious about the prevalence of COVID. Try to provide clear and calm explanations about the situation. Do your best to protect your family and teach them how to protect themselves and others.
Parents' Challenge During COVID
Every parent's challenge now is keeping themselves and their family safe and healthy.
If you or your children are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to friends, family or a medical professional for support and advice.
If you’re looking to create more structure for your children, take a look at how we can help.