In light of the coronavirus pandemic, schools worldwide have closed their doors to contain the spread of infection. With little warning, parents are now juggling working from home with home-schooling and entertaining their children.
Schools are doing their best to support parents through digital tools, online classes and supplying learning materials. But, it is now up to parents to keep their kids motivated.
Here’s how you can motivate your children while at home.
- Maintain a schedule.
This is a weird time for all us, but kids will struggle to comprehend what’s going on.
Without a proper schedule, children will run riot. Not having to go to school will seem fun at first. But it could soon lead to anxiety, frustration and an overabundance of pent-up energy.
For adults and children alike, productivity and motivation rely on having a timetable with clearly demarcated goals.
Set a schedule that works for both you and your children. If you work at the same time as your children, you’ll spend less time on wrangling unruly kids while trying to send out emails.
A new schedule for the entire family will also be comforting for children. They sense that something out of the norm is happening, so they need structure.
Seek your children’s input and make a plan that sees you all getting up as you normally would for school. A family schedule shows children that you’ve got everything under control and there’s nothing to worry about.
- Create a dedicated learning space.
Delineating between work and home life while staying at home is challenging. For children, it’s even more difficult.
It’s essential to create a family culture of work. Children copy what their parents do. They learn from what they see, so the way you behave will have a significant influence on your children’s behaviour. Kids simply won’t sit down and learn if you’re lounging on the sofa watching television.
Create a work zone for yourself and a learning zone for your children. It will be easier for them to respect the boundaries of the space if you’re also sticking to your own rules. They’ll know that when they sit at their desk, it’s time to focus.
- Acknowledge achievements and contributions.
Draw up a chart with all your goals for each day – and that means goals for both you and your children. Colour stars over achieved goals and have a little celebration. Show your children that you are proud of them.
If your children see that you’re rewarding yourself for the work you’ve done, they’ll be a lot more motivated to do the same.
Your goal chart can include anything you like. It doesn’t only need to contain work or studies. In fact, this is an excellent way of showing children that contributing to and helping each other is just as important as learning and working.
You can add chores, such as feeding the cat or putting toys away. You could even add new challenges each day, like drawing a picture for grandma or recording a message to send to friends and family.
- Family time and playtime are vital.
Have your schedule include dedicated slots for family time and playtime to show your children that this is just as important as studying.
Now is the perfect opportunity to sit down and have breakfast together. Over breakfast, everyone can say what they’re looking forward to the most and what they’re going to do today.
Remember that learning at home isn’t all about being cooped up writing all day. And, playtime doesn’t need to involve video games or a free-for-all every time.
This is the perfect opportunity for both you and your children to learn and practice new skills. Watch a documentary such as Blue Planet together and then draw a picture. Or bake and do at-home workouts together.
A great place to start is to sit down as a family and brainstorm all the fun things you could do at home – be creative! Write them all down on pieces of paper, fold and place all the ideas in a bowl or bag, and have your children pick out new activities each day.
- Stay connected.
Just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean you should isolate yourself from family and friends. Call, video call and text to see how everyone is doing and nurture a sense of community and support.
This is equally important for children. While at home for an extended period of time, your children will probably start missing their friends. They might not even fully realise that all their friends are in the same situation too.
Connect with other parents and set aside time for your children to catch up with their friends. They can chat about what they’ve been doing and show off their goal charts to each other.
By staying connected, the network of support for both you and your children is strengthened and you’ll all be more likely to remain motivated.
Bonus tip: Reach out to others for advice.
The internet is replete with learning resources and tips for keeping your children entertained. But, there is nothing more impactful than hearing from other parents about what has worked for them.
Reach out to other parents or try social media, which is full of groups of parents seeking advice and sharing tips.