What to expect from your child?
We hope that the information on this page will give you some guidance and support about what you can expect your child to do while learning at home.
1 - Expect you and your child may need some time to adjust - Learning at home is different.
Simply providing your children with some structure at home will help them to adapt to this 'new normal'. Use the tips below to help with creating a structure that works for you:
- Create and stick to a routine if you can. This is what children are used to. For example, eat breakfast at the same time and make sure they're dressed before starting the ‘school’ day – avoid staying in pyjamas!
- Designate a working space if possible, and at the end of the day have a clear cut-off to signal school time is over
- Involve your children in setting the timetable where possible. It’s a great opportunity for them to manage their own time better and it’ll give them ownership
- Check in with your children and try to keep to the timetable, but be flexible. If a task/activity is going well or they want more time, let it extend where possible
- If you have more than 1 child at home, consider combining their timetables. For example, they might exercise and do maths together – see what works for your household
- Stick the timetable up on the wall so everyone knows what they should be doing when, and tick activities off throughout the day
- Distinguish between weekdays and weekends, to separate school life and home life.
2- Expect to need to adjust your expectations
- You're not expected to become teachers and your children aren't expected to learn as they do in school. When your children are learning at home, it would be difficult and inappropriate to try to recreate the school day.
- Be realistic about what you can do - just do what you can, when you can.
- Some days will be great and you will really enjoy helping your child to learn at home. Some days will be challenging, if you can do just one thing, prioritise reading with your child.
- Try to share the load. If there are 2 parents or adult siblings at home consider splitting the day into blocks and take turns working with the children, so that you can do your own work too.
- Experiment and take stock. What's working and what isn't? Ask your children, involve them too.
- Take care of your own health and wellbeing. This will be new for your entire household, so give it time to settle.
3 - Expect children to work independently at times
- We understand that parents may also be working from home and will have to balance their workload needs with working with their child.
- You should schedule some time each day for your child to work or play independently from you.
- Older children at St Peter’s are used to getting on with work by themselves.
- Even our very youngest children are used to choosing an activity to play or engage with on their own; ‘Independent Learning Time’ is a part of our timetables in the EYFS and KS1.
- Spending time working independently develops children’s skills of perseverance, self-motivation and their problem solving strategies - skills they will need to draw on at every stage of their education.
- Working, or playing independently or with their siblings is good for children. They need time away from constant supervision and structured activity and parents need a break too! Designate the kitchen as 'The Staffroom' and enjoy a cup of tea in peace!
- On your year group page, you will find ideas and guidance for work that children can work on without adult support or supervision.
4 - Expect that children's behaviour may change
- Our children have never experienced anything like this before.
- Although the idea of being off school for weeks on end sounds exciting, they are probably picturing a fun time like the summer holidays, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends.
- They will miss their friends and the constant social interactions that they are used to in a school setting.
- Children are not only hear what is going on around them, in discussions between parents and on the radio or news but they also pick on any feelings of tension and anxiety of others in the household.
- Over the coming weeks, you may see an increase in behaviour issues with your children. Whether it's anxiety, or anger, or protests that they can't do normal things - it will happen. You will potentially see more meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behaviour. This is normal and expected under these circumstances.
- If you are starting to find your children are, understandably, communicating their anxiety through more challenging behaviour we would ask you to remember that above all, children need to feel loved and secure and have lots of positive attention and praise. If you need to adapt or scale back expectations of what children are doing at home, do so.
- Some ways that you could encourage children to maintain social interactions and have some control over their day are:
- Get your children to write letters, postcards or emails to their grandparents or to friends
- Ask grandparents to listen to your children read on FaceTimeor via WhatsApp or ask grandparents to read to younger children)
- Give them chores to do so they feel more responsible about the daily routine at home
- Ask them to help you cook and bake
- Accept that they'll probably watch more TV/spend time on their phone – that's ok but you might want to set/agree some screen time limits
5 - Expect that you will need to make time for exercise and breaks throughout the day
- Anyone who has been part of an appraisal or tutorial meeting will know that working in a small group or on a 1:1 basis is much more intensive then being part of a larger group. Children will get tired quickly, so schedule a break after each activity.
- Getting outside is good for everyone’s physical and mental health. If you have a garden, use it regularly. If you don’t, try to get out once a day as permitted by the government (households can be together outdoors but 2 metres apart from others)
- Get moving - make time each day for a PE lesson with Joe Wicks, do some yoga online, have a dance battle or join in with dance video from Go Noodle to get the heart-rate going.
With thanks to: The Key for School Leaders for many of these ideas.