Reinvesting in our Parenting Routines

Veronica Gomes

KG/Elementary Counsellor: Letter #3 to SEISEN Families

Weekly letter: 3 April,  2020
Online Learning Week 4
by Veronica Gomes

Dear SEISEN Elementary School families,

Reinvesting in our Parenting Routines

As the reality of another week of distance learning and disruption of our regular routines sets in this week, I’d like to focus on keeping it simple and go back to some parenting basics.

I’d like to invite you to consider the following mini-topics. You can conduct a little bit of self-analysis by considering where your family is currently, and where you might like to be.

1. Bedtime on a “school night

Ask Yourself:

  • How have your family’s bedtimes changed during school closure?

Keep it Simple:

  • Once again in the next two weeks, your child does not have to be “at school” by a certain time.
  • In the case that they are staying up later than normal on a “school night”, I recommend slowly moving your child’s bedtime, back towards the recommended and regular time.
  • READ MORE: LINK – a recommended article on sleep

2. Productive morning routines

Ask Yourself:

  • How different are your morning routines these days compared to when school campus is open? Would your family get out the door on time tomorrow if it was back to school?

Keep it Simple:

  • Combined with a renewed attention to bedtimes, having your children start their day with a series of responsibilities will help shake any built-up lethargy out of your home this week.
  • Consider writing or drawing the list of daily ‘wake up’ responsibilities that your child needs to complete… then…. Shhh! No nagging, let them self-manage through the list.  Start tomorrow and see if each day next week can run smoother than the last! Check out this parent’s blog for excellent examples of a chore and daily routine cards for kids.

3. Your child can lead more aspects of their learning

Ask Yourself:

  • Now entering a 5th week of distance learning, your child(ren) are not novices at this any more.
  • Think about your child: what responsibilities can you hand over this week, which they wouldn’t have been ready for in week 1?

Keep it Simple:

  • In what ways can you expect your child to extend themself this week and take more responsibility for their learning?
  • Could they create their own daily schedule and check-off when tasks are complete?
  • Could they prioritize which learning activities are the most important for them to complete?
  • Could they start independently using a timer to assign time limits on how long they plan to spend on an activity?

On a different note, it has come to my attention that some girls are continuing to experience anxiety and concern about the COVID-19 disease and its effects around the world.

How to have a panic-free conversation with your children about the Coronavirus.

1. Be aware of your own behavior.  It's important that parents and caretakers understand the effect their own behavior can have on their children.  If you're visibly upset or react in a way that suggests you're fearful, they'll take their cues from you.  This can be on anything to do with the outbreak.  Your work, their grandparents, concern about being in contact with someone with the disease and so on.  Please have such discussions with your partner where your children cannot overhear and become anxious and afraid.  When you speak to them about anything to do with the outbreak use age-appropriate language about the outbreak and the subsequent consequences.  Explaining things in a calm way will reduce their anxiety.  Because children will pick up on adults’ worries and may ask questions for which we do not have answers, it is okay for adults to say, “I don’t know, but doctors and researchers from all over the world are trying to find the answers.”

2. Tell them the facts.  Scary headlines attract attention but they don't always tell the whole truth.  Inform yourself about the virus, by reading the WHO website or the notices put out by your own country.  Ensuring you're armed with facts will help keep COVID-19 conversations calm, considered, and constructive.

3. Explain what efforts are being made to contain the virus.  What do you know about the situation and how much should you share with your child?  Ask them to ask you any questions and answer your child’s questions with honesty and to the point where they are feeling more confident about the measures put in place by various governments and why.  Sharing this information should help reassure kids that there is no immediate risk to themselves, their friends, or their family.  Some topics for discussion are: The main reason for these actions is to stop the infection from spreading.  Travel in and out of affected areas has been restricted globally, and scientists are working to develop a vaccine.  Confirmed cases are isolated and treated quickly. etc.

4. Finally, offer Practical advice For the time being the easiest way to reduce the risk of being affected by viruses of any sort (including the common cold) is to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, keep hands clean by washing them regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based rub, and avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth. It is also wise to avoid anyone displaying symptoms such as a fever or a cough.  These are easy habits for kids to adopt, and should help them feel as though they're able to exert some control over their circumstances.  Events like this can be very scary for kids so focussing on the known facts rather than fixating on worst-case scenarios will allow your child to process the situation and keep it in perspective.  However worried you may feel, do your best to keep your concerns to yourself and make sure your child understands that you will do everything in your power to keep them — and yourself — safe.

Finally, of course, I am standing by in case you need to have a chat about anything that concerns you.  Please reach out on my email below.

Yours sincerely,
Veronica Gomes
Seisen International School KG/ ES Counseling


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