1. Keep a balanced approach
Aim to relax, cut yourself some slack, and try to be realistic about what can be achieved. It’s impossible to replicate school and probably not good for anyone. A stressed educator who tries to cram too much in and push a child against their will won’t get great results. Go for pragmatism with reasonable expectations and structure and avoiding a complete ‘free for all’, which risks a shock to the system when school returns. Most children thrive on a routine and enjoy the challenge of learning providing there is a relaxed, positive, and purposeful atmosphere.
2. Prepare the ground for change
If you have changed your mind about how your child’s day should look, let them know the expectations in advance. Prepare them whilst they are calm and responsive and incorporate some choices from them; give them some control. Create a schedule if you feel this would help but remain flexible and only have a schedule you know is deliverable.
3. Don’t overdo challenging school tasks
Aim for a manageable amount of the more formal and perhaps ‘tricky’ learning rather than a full day of ongoing battles.
4. Be clear how much is required
Many kids (and adults) need a clear endpoint to tasks when they know they can have a break – light at the end of the tunnel! Be specific about how much they have to achieve and keep it within bounds – avoid ‘pushing it’ and risking a negative atmosphere.
5. Pick and choose what needs supporting
Consider a small number of their learning tasks that need your input – start them off and then pay in bursts of attention and support as required whilst letting them proceed independently whenever they are comfortable to do so.
6. Stay connected…
show interest in all educational activities (not just those tasks requiring explanations and guidance) – regularly pay attention to the full spectrum of their learning.
7. Build self-esteem and reinforce learning behaviour
Pick out positive aspects of their work, steps they have taken in their learning (formal and informal) – actively watch out for effort and small signs of progress. Describe exactly what they have done which is good: ‘I like the way you have……… I can see you have improved your……… because….….’
8. Remember the social side of school
Allow and encourage ‘virtual mingling’ when possible and appropriate. Monitor your child’s online social life in line with their maturity and age, keeping communication open and encouraging honesty. Chat about their relationships in a relaxed manner and listen to accounts of their online lives. Stay calm, be firm, and implement boundaries where necessary. Avoid screens dominating lockdown.