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Top tips for reducing the stress of home schooling (for everyone)

With schools remaining closed, as the government continues to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, many parents and guardians have found themselves responsible for their children’s education. While some will put themselves under pressure to maintain curriculum-level education, this can cause stress for everyone involved!

We’ve pulled together our top tips for parents and guardians to support their child and manage their own stress levels while the school gates are shut.

  1. Develop a maintainable and realistic routine

Structure and predictability are one of the key calming mechanisms during times of stress. But when it comes to home schooling, this doesn’t have to mean all work and no play; try to schedule in regular breaks and fun activities too. It’s not a parent’s job to recreate the eight-hour days children are used to, but to encourage and support with distance learning plans teachers have put in place. We’ve developed a suggested ‘learn from home’ timetable in a previous blog to help manage study time.

It’s likely (albeit frustrating) that a child will resist the time restraints a strict schedule can bring, so remember that now is not the time to clamp down control. It’s okay if your day doesn’t go to plan every single day. Each day brings a new opportunity to learn what is or isn’t working and allows you to fine tune your plan.

  1. Plan ahead (for work and behaviour)

Knowing where to start when it comes to home educating can be a challenge, but luckily there are lots of resources available online to help! BBC Bitesize Daily are providing subject lessons organised by year group, plus you can find free downloadable workbooks created by teachers to keep your child’s curriculum on track from TSS. Fancy doing some experiments? We’ve listed our favourite STEM resources here.

Young people may find the current situation unsettling, and in turn find it difficult to express their emotions. Try and be prepared for meltdowns that this new style of learning may bring and use them as an opportunity to teach social-emotional skills. When you are in the middle of a meltdown, try to remind yourself: my child is not giving me a hard time; they are having a hard time. For extra support, check out our list of the best wellbeing resources for children.

  1. Stay active!

While we’re all confined to our homes, it can be hard to stay active and release those much-needed, stress-busting endorphins. But many are finding that home workouts are possible and do help! Beginning with some exercise is a great way to start the day, release some energy and feel a little bit happier.

Fitness influencer Joe Wicks has got the nation moving with his daily online workouts for all ages on his YouTube channel - his PE lessons for kids are particularly entertaining! Our partner, Sport England, has also launched the #StayInWorkOut campaign, which features a range of online workout options to get you moving.

  1. Know when enough is enough

Some households may be able to stick to usual school hours while home educating, wrapping everything up by 3pm ready for the evening. Sticking to the set school day can be a comfort, but in these difficult times any amount of time of home learning is enough! Instead of focusing on how much time is being spent, focus on the key skills that are being learnt such as reading, writing and numbers, as well as fun activities like baking and outdoor play. It’s fine if this takes six hours of the day, but equally as effective if it takes just three.

Feelings of stress in these, let’s face it, very stressful times are going to be unavoidable, but these are just a few simple things you can do to reduce any negativity or frustration. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone; schools are readily available to help you with any issues you are encountering and can offer advice to help families get through it. The government have also put together some really useful guidance for parents and guardians on supporting young people through the stress and anxiety of COVID-19.

For however long the lockdown lasts, the nation has never been closer; we’re all in the same boat and we’re all in this together.

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