How can I help my children and make them happy?
How can I help my children and make them happy?
This may seem like a really general question, but as the UK faces growing uncertainty during the global Coronavirus pandemic, it may be something that parents are constantly asking themselves. With the closure of UK schools for the majority of children, the pressures that face parents to both work and homeschool whilst reassuring their children that everything will be okay, are enormous. Parents, we’re here to tell you that you’re all superheroes; it’s okay not to feel okay but we can guarantee that you’re doing the best job you can everyday! Whilst there’s no set method to overcoming all of these pressures, we’re hoping that this guide will help you to address the subject of talking about Coronavirus with your children, hopefully reassuring both them and yourselves in the process. We’ve also put together our favourite places to access amazing homeschooling resources to help you plan out your days so that both you and your children can make the most of this unusual time. Just remember, you’ve got this!
How can I make my children happy?
In a more general sense, it’s important to remember that you are not totally in control of your children’s happiness. Yes being a parent means that your behaviour will impact on your child’s mood, but they too are their own people and will sometimes harbour emotions that are out of your control. However, by nurturing your own happiness you can create a happy atmosphere for your child; children are incredibly perceptive and if you’re happy, they will absorb this!
Whilst the current emphasis is on homeschooling, there are practices that you can put in place with everyday activities to encourage learning and create a positive atmosphere. For example, aligning your routines so you have time to eat together and play together and making both lunchtimes and recreational time fun will help make memories with your children that will last a lifetime! And speaking of routines, even though we are currently in ‘stay at home’ mode, routine is still super important for both adults and children. By making a structured plan for each day, children will feel more reassured and focused, knowing exactly what they’re doing and when. Even if it’s just planning in meal-times, playtime and bedtime, you are creating an element of certainty for your children when everything else might be a little unsettling.
Gratitude is an important lesson to teach too; ask your children to name one thing at the end of the day that they are thankful for whilst doing the same yourself. Teaching gratitude encourages positive thinking, a rewarding characteristic for both children and adults to possess.
Should I talk to my children about Coronavirus?
As a rule, children are prone to worry more when they are kept in the dark about things so it’s really important to talk to them about Coronavirus, particularly if they are asking questions or seem worried or distracted as a result of the current climate. Here are some important things to remember when having the conversation with your children:
Don’t be afraid to have the discussion
This is your opportunity to give your child the facts and set an emotional tone. As adults it’s important that we take on the news and then by filtering and relaying these facts back to children, they are likely to feel more reassured and confident. However, it is important to let children take the lead on this; don’t volunteer too much information as this can be overwhelming. Allowing them to ask questions and inviting them to tell you what they know and how they feel will help you to put their worst fears to bed and discourage frightening fantasies.
Deal with your own anxieties first
Remember when we said that children are perceptive and great at absorbing the mood around them? Unfortunately that’s possible here too. It’s natural for us as adults and parents to feel anxious in the face of uncertainty, but it’s important to remember to delay any conversations with your children when you are feeling like this to avoid passing on that anxiety. Take time to calm down and collect your thoughts before having a conversation with your child.
Be reassuring and focus on staying safe
Remember to reassure your child that in this case, children aren’t really suffering first hand from Coronavirus. There is little evidence to suggest that children are becoming ill from the virus and most that have had it have shown very mild symptoms. By focusing on staying safe and elements of this that are in their control, they will feel empowered. Encourage them to wash their hands for twenty seconds (singing the Happy Birthday song twice) when they’ve been outside, coughed, sneezed or come into contact with germs from hard surfaces outside of their family home and they’ll feel confident that they are doing their best to help.
Reassure them that when you learn more, they will too! No-one is expecting you to have all of the answers all of the time, but when you learn more, try to educate your children with any developments too, in a safe and reassuring way of course.
Routine: How can I help my child learn at home?
Suddenly you’re a teacher, and whilst some parents might be teachers, for those that aren’t, homeschooling may be a daunting prospect! Remember to emphasise routine and structure and make learning fun! When will your children ever have the opportunity to learn from you, their real life superheroes, ever again? There are some amazing resources online at the moment which can really help kids learn from real life PE and dance lessons, to amazing resources for those all important core subjects too. Here are our top favourites:
Usually used as a great revision resource, BBC Bitesize is perfect for homeschooling. With learning offered for Primary (ages 3-11), Secondary (ages 11-16) and Post 16 (ages 16+), it’s full of great games, videos and educational resources broken down into Key Stage levels (or equivalent) to ensure your child benefits from their appropriate level of learning. Featuring all National Curriculum subjects.
Described as ‘Maths made awesomer’, Maths Shed features games and activities to encourage kids to challenge themselves and each other, whilst improving their maths at the same time. Although this is a paid for subscription, there is a fourteen-day free trial so you can try before you buy. And if your kids love this format, you can try Spelling Shed too!
Teacher’s Pet is the place for free downloadable home learning packs for your children to work on at home. With resources for Early Years up to age 11, it’s the perfect place for Primary education! With new packs uploaded every Friday, there’s always something new for your kids to do. As well as learning, packs feature mindfulness colouring in and positive words to help keep your children happy during this uncertain time.
Wildlife watch is a great way to get kids to wildlife spot whether outside in the garden (or during allowed daily exercise) or indoors. With free readymade downloadable sheets tailored to feature wildlife for each season, it’s a great way to get the kids active and encourage them to explore!
We’ve cheated a little with this one as we couldn’t choose our favourite! From PE to Science, there are some amazing daily lessons being uploaded to YouTube that both you and the kids can take part in. From PE with Joe Wicks (9am every day), to dance lessons with Oti Mabuse (1130am for kids & 730pm for adults), Science with Maddie Moate (weekdays at 11am), Music with Myleene Klass (Myleene’s Music Klass, twice a week) and many, many more, you’ll be spoilt for choice with all of the fun and entertaining lessons.
With amazing resources for both teachers and children, your kids can spend hours getting lost in the World of David Walliams. With colouring in, activities quizzes and more, this is the perfect place for older kids to spend a few hours learning whilst losing themselves in this magical world.
Have the best time homeschooling and remember to stay at home and stay safe! Share your homeschooling and indoor activities with us across our socials using the hashtag #stayathomewithdc. We can’t wait to see what you’re up to!
Team DC x