Helping your kids cope with school and learning during Covid-19

Introducing Mandy Goble
Hi, I have been working here at DCYCC for the past 31 years. Now many of you will be saying…WHAT 31 years!!! Yes, it sounds improbable, however it is true and one thing that I can say without a shadow of a doubt is that after 31 years I am still learning, every day brings a new lesson, and for that reason 31 years feels like just the other day.

So, 31 years on paper places in me the humble position of being referred to as an experienced someone in the field of child and youth care. I trust that as you follow my blog you will find some of the information helpful, interesting and enlightening.

It has been two weeks now since schools have reopened. Some schools opened full time, others are applying alternate day teaching and still others have opted for remote (online) learning. I understand the anxiety you may feel as a parent during this uncertain time. Wondering whether you are doing the right thing is normal and dare I say healthy. Aside from attending to the needs of my own children, I have 74 children in my custody who’s well-being is my top priority.
My team and I were spent much time debating whether it was, or was not, sensible to send our children back to school. We started where we always start, Children’s Rights. Whilst adjusting to the new normal had most definitely restricted several our children’s rights, we know how important access to education is for them. Finding the balance between their right to health and safety and their right to be protected against their right to basic education was no easy task, especially as a few our children have comorbidities. So, we completely understand your anxiety when it comes to making decisions concerning your child, especially now during the pandemic. Our staff have found the following list of tips to be helpful. We share them in the hope that you may find them to be useful to you and your child too.

  1. One step at a time! What your child is going through is not a unique situation that only he or she is experiencing. It’s a global situation. Children across the world are going through the same thing. Take a deep breath and make each decision, take each step, one at a time!
  2. Feeling afraid is okay! When you are feeling anxious about sending your child to school remember that it is only natural for any caring parent to feel afraid for their child’s well-being. School for most is considered a safe and nurturing space. It is where your child learns and grows, without your supervision. It is a protected environment and most schools have taken every precaution to ensure that strict rules and protocols are in place to address Covid-19. Educators are professionals whose main priority is the protection of your children.
  3. Teach independence! Remind your children that they are able to take care of themselves. Teach or remind them to wash their hands and sanitise regularly. Teach them that wearing their masks and keeping a safe social distance will protect themselves and those around them.
  4. Promote structure! Whether your child is attending school or attending on-line, it is important that they have a structured learning timetable to follow. This will help them to get use to and keep to routine.
  5. Get to know your child’s teacher. Most teachers have now created WhatsApp groups to keep parents and children informed of requirements and/or changes. Some have even made their cell phone numbers available for parents to directly communicate with them.
  6. Be proactive. If your child is not coping in any of his/her subjects it is important to inform the teacher immediately. It’s better to inform the teacher sooner instead of waiting for the exams. The teacher will most likely assist with extra material that can help your child.
  7. Encourage physical exercise. We know how good this is for overall health and wellness. It is also an important for children release a whole variety of pent-up energy and emotion. Find activities that keep them physically active whilst stimulating their brains. This is important for their growth and development.
  8. Provide nutritional, well-balanced meals. Eating excessive sweets and snacks is not good for the health of your child. When your child eats the right foods at the right times, you are ensuring that they are getting all the essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that they need for healthy growth and development.
  9. Insist on daily reading time. Readers become leaders. Reading expands the mind. Apart from learning new words and improving vocabulary, reading also helps a child develop a good and active imagination. Read a book should be the response of every parent to, ‘’I’m bored’’.