ABU DHABI, The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, ECA, has released a parents’ guide to help children thrive at remote schooling, enjoy family time, and offered tips on how to engage children effectively during lockdown.
“There is a huge difference between elective ‘home schooling’ and adapting to it very unexpectedly, but there many ways families can balance multiple children’s workloads whilst considering each child’s individual needs and keeping on top of learning schedules. During this time, it is important to recognise that this is an abnormal situation to be in, so be kind to yourself and look at the positives in every situation,” said an advisory for parents issued by ECA on Wednesday.
The advisory reminded that children easily pick up on conversations and uncertainty parents might be experiencing. “As a result, this can lead to changes in a child’s behaviour, schooling and overall wellbeing. It is important to regulate the content that is seen on the news and discussed during phone conversations with friends and family.
“Try to take those conversations away from children to help reduce unnecessary worry. Talk to children about any fears or worries they might have and validate their feelings by addressing any questions that come up. During this time especially, it is important to create an honest and calm space for children to address concerns,” it said.
The advisory also stressed the importance of sticking to a routine and offered tips that include ensuring that toddlers wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, eat healthy meals, enjoy playtime, music time and have messy play such as painting, crafts and getting creative.
“Keeping a normal consistent routine for young children can be a stress reliever. To ensure a sense of normality for children, plan a routine that mimics a normal day at school or nursery by incorporating playtime, arts and crafts, fun activities that involve other family members and reading. When planning a schedule, it is important to remember that things do not always go to plan, so try not to live by the clock and be flexible to adapt to changes when needed,” it said.
On homeschooling, the advisory said its important that parents keep realistic and achievable goals which will create a calmer household. “At the same time, it is important not to get overwhelmed by the thought that your child may fall behind. You can do some trials and ask an expert to find the right balance and the suitable environment that will improve you child’s skills,” it stated.
“If your child is not adapting to a set period of online learning,” the advisory said, “then adapt to spreading the work little and often across the day.”
The advisory went on to offer tips for working parents home-schooling their children, which include doing as much housework as possible before children wake up, planning meals at the weekend for the week ahead and prepping as much as possible to help alleviate meal stress and tantrums. It also advised parents to talk to the children about the need for their support and discuss the weekly plans with them to get everyone involved and on board before the week begins, as well as having a schedule for the week where children and family members can video call friends and family, giving everyone something to look forward to.
“Take some time after putting the kids to bed to prepare for their learning the next day and reduce the stress of trying to find the required resources and documents just before lessons.”
“It is important to recognise that this period is also a huge transition for children to adapt to as well. Children may also be facing anxieties, so it is important to not add to them by setting overly high expectations during this abnormal situation,” it added.
Source: Emirates News Agency