Are you finding it difficult to cope as a family in lockdown? You're not alone. The current COVID-19 pandemic has plunged us all headfirst in to a new, more restricted way of living. While we are all rightly staying at home to protect ourselves and others around us, you've had to say a temporary goodbye to family life as you knew it. Now, it's hello to working online, homeschooling the children and keeping everyone entertained all at the same time and in the same space.
Sound familiar? We're here to help. In this blog, we'll be giving you some helpful tips for staying sane as a family in lockdown.
Don't bottle things up
We'll start off by saying that it's ok not to feel positive all the time. It's also ok not to feel positive at all. The current crisis will undoubtedly have you and members of your family feeling worried or even scared. These feelings are natural and to be expected. Although it can be helpful sometimes, we're not going to tell you to just keep 'thinking positively' as a fix-all to our current predicament.
Instead, take stock of yours and your children's feelings right now. Have open conversations. How do you feel? How do they feel? What are everyone's concerns? Opening up a dialogue about your emotions will serve as an important family reminder that you are not alone as individuals.
Create a regular routine
Replicating your regular family routine (sans global pandemic) or even improving upon it will set a great foundation for family lockdown living. A normal bedtime and morning routine will be your family's best friend during lockdown. And not just for the kids! Having a regular sleep/waking cycle can have a huge impact on your family's energy levels, as well as improving the quality of everyone's sleep. It's all to do with your Circadian rhythms - you can read more about those here.
Your brain loves consistency, so it's important to stay disciplined with separating 'work/school mode' from 'home mode'. Don't get me wrong, this is trickier when you are literally working or learning at home. But it's the little things that make all the difference here; getting showered and dressed, starting and finishing at regular times and taking lunch/snack breaks when you and your children usually would at work or school.
This is probably the most obvious, but also the most important one. It can be all too tempting to become a couch potato during lockdown (because let's face it, now you can!). But while there's nothing wrong with the odd lazy day, be sure to include daily exercise for the whole family. This is super important for physical health, but perhaps even more so, at this time, for your mental wellbeing. As you may well know, children have a lot of energy, so if they don't have a daily outlet things can get, well... messy.
If you haven't already heard, Joe Wicks (a.k.a. The Body Coach) is running live P.E. lessons for kids each week. Check out his Youtube channel where you and the kids can tune in live, or play back any of his previous sessions. He also has fantastic regular classes for adults too! Depending on where you live and what the lockdown restrictions are, make sure to take full advantage of the time you are allowed to be outdoors. Spending time outside isn't just great for the whole family's physical and mental health, but will make things feel a bit more normal.
Homeschool like a pro
Homeschooling may be taking some adjusting to if your children are used to going to mainstream school. As we talked about previously, routine will be your greatest ally here. Have a look at your kids' school timetable from last term - what did their day look like? Are you able to try and copy their daily school schedule? Making it feel as similar to actual school as possible will help get your children into 'school mode'. Creating a home learning environment is also essential, even if you are confined to a smaller space.
We understand, though, that nothing compares to real teacher to pupil engagement. If you are new to homeschooling and have your own work commitments, know that there are helpful options to support your child's learning while they're at home. Online schooling has gained popularity in recent years, with many families choosing it as a complete alternative to mainstream school. At My Online Schooling, we deliver the English National Curriculum in daily live online lessons. Like in a physical school, our pupils attend our interactive lessons to a set weekly timetable, complete and submit homework and have fun in our free after school clubs.