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Supporting children’s wellbeing during lockdown

By May 19, 2020June 1st, 2020No Comments

The current ‘Covid climate’ has been one of the most challenging times ever faced by educators. There have been endless challenges presented by the pandemic and for all at The Mulberry House School the children’s wellbeing and mental health have continued to be at the forefront of everything we have done.

Just as these are very uncertain times for us as educators, we are very aware that they are uncertain times for our parent community. Not only have their own lives and routines completely changed, they are faced with the task of trying to explain to children why they cannot come to school, see their friends or hug members of their extended family. Naturally, this will ignite fears and concerns. With this in mind we have put together the following advice for our parents to support them in making this time as “normal” for the children as possible.

Structure your day

In order to avoid a complete disruption to routines that families have worked hard at establishing we have recommend that week days are structured. There are 6 main ‘sections’ of the day and these are as follows:

  1. Physical Time: Keep minds and bodies healthy by taking daily exercise. You can do PE with Coach Marc, spend time outdoors together or take a walk.
  2. Learning time: This is a great time to capitalise on learning time or try a new hobby. Each class at The Mulberry House School are provided with weekly timetables. These provide a suggested structure for learning time that follows a typical school day as closely as possible. We have included a range of activities. We are encouraging our children to continue to develop their interests and hobbies as well.
  3. Connectivity time: Make time to connect with yourself and others; use creative ways to reach out to people. Each week the EYFS children are having a live Show and Tell session with their teacher and a small group of their peers. In the Preps classes the children are able to connect during register and circle time sessions each day. It has been lovely to hear that so many of the children are staying connected with family via platforms such as Zoom and Skype too, as well as lots of birthday parties and play dates!
  4. Focus time: Make time to focus on completing work tasks. The children have got the Headteacher’s challenge alongside weekly work being set as part of their educational provision. Set aside time to complete these each week and ensure to praise the children for their efforts in doing so.
  5. Family time: Now is a perfect time to use to connect with family, the moments in the day when you can all come together. Use these opportunities to have meals together, relax together and engage in fun and exciting activities such as board games. We have put together a list of fun board games which can be found on our website. We have got a list for EYFS and another for KS1.
  6. You time: Ensure that children and adults are taking time for reflection and self-care. This is the simple things you do to take care of your emotional wellbeing. Some suggestions include yoga, mindfulness, reading or doing whatever it is that makes you the most relaxed.

Top tips to support your routine

  1. Following our timetables will allow you to schedule your day and support you in managing the task of supporting your child whilst continuing with your own work load. We recommend to keep Monday-Friday as normal school days and ensure that the weekends are relaxation times.
  2. As you continue your work at home and your child adapts to taking part in their own education from home, you want to avoid the feeling of ‘being on top of each other’. Establish clear work spaces for everyone and ensure that children understand the importance of respecting everyone’s space. Just as you would encourage your child to prepare what they need the night before, support them in gathering what they will need for the following day’s activities and lessons.
  3. Maintain your child’s sleep routine. A good night’s sleep recharges both the body and the brain. It is vital for your child that they are getting the same sleep as usual, this will support their social and emotional interactions as well as their concentration during this new style of learning.
  4. Manage expectations. Supporting your child through their timetable or with accessing online learning is going to take time for everyone to adjust to. It will provide new challenges such as getting through technical difficulties. It is important to factor in regular breaks, physical activity, ‘down time’ and accepting that not every day will be a perfect day. That is okay, in such an unprecedented time we want to ensure before all else that they feel safe and are happy.

Expert opinion

This year we have been very lucky in establishing our relationship with Professor Kathy Weston. She has visited to talk to both our parents and staff on children’s mental health. We recommend listening to Kathy’s podcast, some of her recent episodes focus on Covid-19 advice for parents, also featuring other professionals.  Kathy has prepared some wonderful resources for parents to and they can be found by following the below links:

Still here for you

At The Mulberry House School we take great pride in our relationships with our parents. The main message that we want to send is ‘We are still here for you.’ If you would like any support or advice please discuss this during your weekly telephone call with your child’s teacher or contact us via e-mail.

We are looking forward to the day that we can open our doors once again to The Mulberry House School community!