Routine is key - “Something that most learnt during the mayhem and adjustment we all experienced during the first lockdown was that routine is essential. Children and young adults need routine, structure and boundaries, which is what school normally offers. So, get into a routine and get up and get dressed and start your day with having breakfast together. Be ready to start your planned activities at the same time school would normally start. Make the weekends different and have treat breakfasts like pancakes.”
Create structure - “Let your family help you create the structure for the day and week and schedule it out. Write it down, so everyone who has been involved in the process can see what is going to happen and when. Build in a balance between fun times, learning activities, down time, and family time. The more you plan, the more time you will get.
“Ideally, try to maintain regular school hours from home, so that your child doesn’t fall out of their existing routine. Then use this as a basis to build in wider activities such as exercise, relaxation time, and moments to be creative together.”
Negotiate with your children - “Those within the property industry are no strangers to negotiations. It is important for children to learn social and life skills. Part of this involves teaching them that if they carry out the tasks they are required to do, they then get the opportunity to do the activities they want to do.
“This is negotiation and you need to make sure to keep your end of the bargain, and if they don’t then they don’t get their choice of activity. Simple yes, easy no – you need to stay strong and consistent, however, if you can negotiate with your children you will teach them a vital life skill.”
Get active - “Use resources like Joe Wicks and schedule a time in the day to do activities together. Schedule time to get out of the house – go for a walk, or to the park, set up an obstacle course in the garden, or scavenger hunt or set activities in discovering nature, or finding how many houses have red doors.”
Schedule creative and fun time - “It is important to find time to be creative outside of schoolwork and computer time. Get books out, coloured pens, counters, blocks, whatever you may have to hand. Make a recipe with your family, work on a puzzle, go on an indoor scavenger hunt. Now’s the time to try something new.
“You know your children so schedule around their good times, for example if a child concentrates better on schoolwork in the morning make sure you schedule accordingly and have fun time in the afternoons.”
Remember, connection is still key - “Although we need to remain at home and physically distant, we can still be socially close and find separate time to connect with each other.
“Setting up virtual play dates on a one-to-one basis, or creating virtual playgrounds, where children can come together to chat or play can also be a way of loosening up the scenario and feeling less alone. This can also be a great way for parents to compare notes and offer support to one another. However, please make sure parental controls are on, and that you remain aware of your child’s internet activity and encourage the child to be open with you about any ‘new’ people trying to make contact.”
Embrace digital tools - “There are some brilliant resources online, so pick the ones that suit you and your children best – don’t feel you need to embrace them all. Think of them as a ‘pick and mix’ tub that you can dip into.
“And don’t worry if they go on the Xbox or iPad for a couple of hours if you need the time to concentrate for work. Schedule it in to balance it with other activities, and your work schedule.”
Do what you can - “Not only is it difficult to juggle working remotely, but adding home-schooling makes it even more difficult. Added to this that a child’s attention span is around two to three minutes per year of their age, so it is important to keep your children engaged.
“Though it may seem daunting, concentrate on the basics if you are feeling overwhelmed. Talk to your children’s teachers about what is achievable and what you can and cannot get done. Everyone’s situation is different, and schools will understand that there needs to be flexibility.”
Create everyone’s own space - “Everyone needs their own space at times, and it is important that this is respected and created at different times during the day.
“Remove distractions and let everyone have a place of their own - a simple space in which they can emote, do inner work, and reflect.”
Be kind to yourself - “Forget comparing yourself to others and shaming. It is a fictious world on social media – it’s not real, rather only what others want to portray. Remember you are good enough and are doing the best you can. No-one is perfect and we often learn by getting it wrong and making mistakes.
“Pick your battles as this is not a sprint, it is a marathon, and you need to keep your sanity and energy the best you can. Somethings are not important, allow yourself flexibility on normality.
“Take the positives, however small. At the end of the day think of all the small achievements you made and praise yourself.
“Always remember we cannot change reality, such as lockdown, however, we have a choice on how we perceive it.
“Treat the next few months as a learning exercise for the whole family. Forget about trying to do everything perfectly, it does not matter if some things slip or don’t turn out as we expected. Remember you’re doing the best you can in the circumstances and to have as much fun as you can along the way.”