The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for Albertans. We’ve adapted to mask-wearing and social distancing. We’ve learned to find entertainment and to pursue hobbies and interests in the confines of our homes and backyards. Students who attend school have had to adjust to the back and forth of in-person learning and online learning while many parents have been asked to work from home. This situation creates new obstacles for families. How do we care for our children while working and schooling at home? The following are some tips to help your family cope with anxiety and at-home learning.
- Maintain a routine: Talk with your children about the situation and its challenges. Let them help create a daily schedule. Include time for learning, exercise and breaks. Schedule time for shared meals and snacks. Decide where everyone will best do their work with minimum distractions. In the evenings, play, read and/or watch TV together. Stick to your normal bedtimes. Routine reduces stress and improves focus, organization and productivity.
- Listen to and validate your child: Your kids may not have learned to express themselves or to regulate their emotional reactions so a supportive adult who hears, acknowledges and helps them deal with their emotions is invaluable during this stressful time.
- Limit exposure to media: Many children do not have the ability to filter media information and make informed decisions. Limit the amount of news they’re exposed to as it can increase fear and anxiety. Talk to them about their worries. Validate their uncertainties and provide reassurance and hope. Correct any rumours or misinformation they may hear.
- Pay attention to screen time: Contact teachers about educational online activities for your children. Use screen time for social connection with friends and/or family through video chat and/or social media sites. Make a plan so that screen use does not interfere with sleep, physical activity, reading or family connection.
- Maintain a balanced approach to school: Children can easily get overwhelmed when they focus only on school. Encourage them to take regular breaks, get outside, be active, rest and recharge. Play games together (online or traditional) or find other activities that alleviate the pressure of schooling at home (baking, art, movement, music). Support them in maintaining social connections even if they can’t meet in person.
- Keep a close eye on changes in behaviour as this can indicate that children are struggling. By noticing and asking them about it, you can help them solve issues. If you’re concerned about your child’s mental and emotional wellbeing, connect with a family physician, Alberta Mental Health or a private counsellor/therapist.
- Take care of yourself and your own stress. Connect with family, friends or mental health professionals to share your concerns and worries. The more balanced you are, the more you’ll be able to help your child(ren) cope with the situation.
Though it may seem like it will never end, the COVID-19 situation will pass. Reassure your children, help them cope, keep a close eye on their emotional condition and you’ll come out the other side stronger.
At The Centre for Learning@Home we’re here to support your family. We understand that stressful times call for flexibility. Our students have consistent and uninterrupted learning. We offer online learning with online activities that provide a break from academics.
Feel confident in your family’s home education with the support of The Centre for Learning@Home. We’ve supported homeschooling families in Alberta for nearly thirty years, and encourage parents to set a curriculum that they and their children are comfortable with. Choose a teacher-directed online or a parent-directed home education approach.
Call us at (403) 938-4119 or our toll-free number 1-800-659-1945 to learn more about getting your family set up for homeschooling.
More information and help:
- Age-Based Tips to Help Juggle Parenting & Working at Home During COVID-19
- Parenting in a Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home