With the move to remote learning for the beginning of term 2, the college will continue to provide wellbeing support for students. Each student has been assigned a teacher to ensure that there is daily contact with students for the purposes of raising any concerns linked to physical or emotional wellbeing, including difficulty with managing workload.
One of the intrinsic positive effects of a school on a child’s wellbeing is the provision of clear rules, expectations and routines. Although children can be naturally compelled to react against structures when they don’t want to do something, it is important that structure is provided at home during this time. While most families will have existing expectations and routines, it is important to emphasise these during this time. The following strategies may help you to achieve a manageable structure at home that enables remote learning, and physical and psychological wellbeing.
Develop a timetable that enables a balance of focused learning, physical activity, and time with family will help reduce the unpredictability and sense of helplessness. Most of all, provide ample breaks to relieve the need for self-regulation. As most of the learning for many of our students is now asynchronous, it means that you can develop a timetable with your child that allows for time you are available to support them with their learning that is convenient for your other responsibilities. This might even look like days where there is less school related time and days where there is more. Remember, that even in small classes students will not have the full attention of the teacher so there is no need for you to be looking over your child’s shoulder every minute of the day. It is important to meet your needs as a person as well as a parent so you stay positive.
Identify areas for authentic learning at home, which may include building or repairs, cooking, budgeting, art and craft etc. By understanding what your child is learning from the work sent home to them you can identify ways to link this to practical tasks around the home.
Maintain expectations for your children around chores and other responsibilities they have in the home. As with school, the expectation should be that these are carried on with respect, responsibility and resilience. You can refer to our SWPBS matrix and use these expectations at home with your own positive reward system in place. This will ensure that your child does not lose their ability to regulate their emotions and allows you to maintain a positive attitude and relationship.
Evidence of the effect of screen time varies, especially depending on the age of your child. If you have strict rules around screen time and playing video games it may be important to enable more than usual at this time. Young people frequently use video games and social media for contact with friends, therefore without face-to-face contact that would usually occur at school or sports clubs, it is important that your child is given this time for online positive social connection with friends.
Overall, it is good advice to ensure there is a structure that works best for your whole family during this time. For students who require structure, such as those on the autism spectrum, a structure with clear times and bells will help but for most families the job is not to replicate school but to ensure that there are expectations that provide some routine, continuity of learning and regular contact with the teacher.