Coronavirus: Top Tips For Parents Supporting Children At Home As Schools Close
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For many parents, the prospect of having to support their child’s learning from home may seem daunting, especially at such short notice.
Nicola Anderson - Head of Customer Support at leading online tutoring service MyTutor - provides her tips to reassure parents at this time and advises how they can support their children as fully as possible.
1. Make sure they’ve got a space to work and the equipment they need
Set up a desk in a quiet corner of the house where your child can keep their laptop, textbooks and notes - they’ll find it much easier to focus and the rest of the family can continue life as normal. As schools would normally provide things like flashcards, exercise books and planners, it may be worth preparing these items now should closures be enforced at short notice.
2. Set good habits around phone use
Teens spend a lot of time on apps speaking with their friends anyway - and isolation will only increase their desire to communicate socially. While some communication will be positive for their mental health, the opposite is true when social media fuels feelings of isolation and anxiety. You’ll need to set some ground rules for how phones are used during the day, and keep an eye on your child’s mood.
3. Help them organise their day (and make sure they go outside!)
Without the structure of the school day, and without the engagement of peers, motivation and energy can take a dive. Help your child set up a timetable that’ll work for them and covers the subjects they need. Divide up periods of study with active breaks. Make sure your child moves, goes outside, eats meals at the appropriate times and has offline conversations.
4. Have some go-to resources lined up
You’re likely to run into situations where your child doesn’t understand some of their course content and you’re unable to help. In these situations, having some resources ready is wise. Look up the specifications for the subjects your child is studying from the relevant exam boards and bookmark any online resources that can help you out. Save My Exams and S-cool are two handy sites.
5. Look for online support
Self-study is an incredibly hard skill to master and secondary school pupils may struggle without someone actively explaining concepts to them. It’s worth finding an online tutor who can help your child fill in any gaps in their knowledge. Online lessons are like having a face-to-face skype call with a tutor but with an interactive whiteboard on the screen too so students can upload documents and make notes. A tutor can keep students on track with the syllabus and give them a much-needed boost of confidence in what is a confusing and challenging time.
6. Keep an eye out for mental health issues
If you have to homeschool your child, don’t panic. We’re more set-up than ever before to manage a situation like this. Remember, lots of parents (about 50,000!) choose to homeschool their kids regardless of Coronavirus. What is important is to look out for signs that your child isn’t coping mentally with a home set-up. Despondency and withdrawal or anger and higher-than-usual levels of irritability can all point to stress. There are lots of great services you can call on for support such as Kooth and YoungMinds.