Home school help: How to keep children focussed and stress down during lockdown 3

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Children will spend the next six weeks at home with their parents due to Covid-19. The Prime Minister’s newly imposed national lockdown will keep England under wraps until mid-February. The news will leave parents in a bind, with new dual careers as carers and educators for some time to come.

Parents will likely initially encounter issues with helping their children stay focussed.

School from home may feel a little too much like a holiday and may struggle to understand they still need to study.

One person all too familiar with the situation is parenting expert and blogger Harriet Shearsmith, founder of TobyandRoo.com.

She and her husband have three primary school children to care for during this third lockdown, and she told Express.co.uk the experience “feels different”.

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Harriet said children have come into the lockdown with no full-scale return to school, leaving them in “holiday mode”.

Her children are aged five, eight and nine years old respectively, all at home with her and her husband as they work from home.

The lockdown has left her needing to cater to three different educational stages while juggling work and care.

While the experience often feels like “climbing a glacier with slippers”, Harriet has managed to bring some organisation to her new routine.

She said: “At the moment our children are all being set work by their teachers via an online platform called Class Dojo, the work is flexible to be done at any time throughout the day with a rough guide of how long each section should take.

“For us, this works incredibly well, and has allowed me to adapt a timetable for us to maintain some form of routine to help keep us all going.

“We thrive on routine, it is the antithesis to uncertainty in this house, and with a bit of planning I can filter in the teacher’s set work to different times of day so I know when the kids will work independently and when they will need more of our attention.

“We wake up and start our day by 9am, getting dressed, eating breakfast and preparing for our respective tasks.”

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“From a mental health perspective, I’ve noticed that my children thrive on knowing that there is a similar routine to that of school and knowing that there is a point in the day when we will revert back to ‘home’ instead of ‘homeschool’.

“I’ve found that closing the door on our living room and keeping that as a family space for after school and work has been useful to help create a different space for our different roles.

“We have lots of breaks and above all, we’re kind to ourselves if things aren’t going to plan.

“In addition to the work that the teachers have set, we have been using the time to encourage the kids to develop their passions (be it football skills using YouTube tutorials and a soft ball in the house or ball outside in the garden, drawing and painting or computer skills) and learn life skills like laundry, cooking and cleaning.”

For the parent’s peace of mind, Harriet suggests making communication a central tenet of their routine.

Communicating with teachers and clients ranks at the top, as parents can reduce stress by being upfront about having small children around.

Harriet rounded added parents have ultimately got an “impossible” task ahead of them.

She said: “We are expected to be teachers for three to six hours a day, caregivers 24/7, workers 8hrs a day and do all of these things with 100 percent. It’s simply not possible.”

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