How To Support Your Happy, Healthy, High Achiever At Home 

As parents help their children adjust to off-site learning and other changes to their daily lives, Mentone Grammar’s Head of Student Wellbeing and experienced psychologist, Bridgitte Roberts, offers some tips on the best way for parents to support their children to succeed.

“As parents, it’s our job to be a positive influence, to continue reassuring and supporting our child in this time of uncertainty, and also to acknowledge that this may be a stressful time for children, of all ages. 

Now more than ever, it’s so important for us to check in with our children. Some young people will transition seamlessly, whilst others may need more help. Take care to notice any changes that might be concerning, such as withdrawal from their learning program or from their friends.

Young people are looking to their parents to keep things in context and help ease the transition to a different learning environment. The best way for parents to support their children during this time is to provide children with the structure and groundwork they need to succeed.” 

Here are our top tips to helping your child do their best while learning from home. 

Make a daily schedule
Children thrive on routine, and it helps to structure their day, no matter what age they are. Be sure to include time for online learning, leisure time, reading, exercise, connecting with friends and family, resting and household chores. Encourage your child to take regular breaks to stretch and reset for the next task ahead. 

Set up a dedicated learning space.   
Choose a place in your home where your child can sit and focus, without interruption. This space needs to be free from distractions such as electronics, mobile devices and toys, so your child has a better chance of staying on task. If possible, it’s best to separate their learning space from their bedroom, as this room should be associated with sleep.  

Encourage other interests.
With all of us now spending more time at home, it’s a great opportunity for your child to explore interests and hobbies that they wouldn’t usually have time for. Developing a new skill can be both therapeutic and a welcome distraction. It could be anything from learning an instrument or a new language, practicing mindfulness, trying yoga, soccer, cooking or illustration. 

Understand and reassure your child.
We all react differently to new situations and sudden changes to our lives, and our children are no different. Some may feel anxious or stressed, while others will adapt seamlessly. Either way, it’s important to acknowledge and understand their feelings. Be vigilant and look out for signs of anxiety or withdrawal from their learning program or social connections. If you’re concerned about your child, please seek professional support from Mentone Grammar’s School Counsellors or from your GP. Free counselling for students and parents is currently available to those in the City of Kingston, via Heartlinks. For more information, please click here.    

Prepare nutritional meals.
Eating well gives your child more energy, improves their concentration, encourages better sleep and supports good mental health. Ensure your child is eating good, healthy meals full of fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other immune-supporting nutrition. This should include colourful fruit and vegetables, protein such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu and nuts, wholegrain breads, cereals, pasta or rice, as well as yogurt, milk, cheese or vegan alternatives.  

Make time for exercise and outdoor activities 
Doing some form of daily exercise is a great boost not just to our physical wellbeing but also for our mental health. Make time in your child’s schedule to go outside for a walk, a bike ride or a run. You could even try a walk to and from ‘school’ around your block at the start and end of the day. 

Take care of yourself too. 
As parents, we all need self-care during this time too. There’s no roadmap for this, so taking each day as it comes and keeping positive is the best we can do. Create time for yourself through exercise, calling family and friends, reading, cooking, music – whatever it is that makes you happy, carve out the time and space for you to do it. By making time for your own health and wellbeing, you’re leading your child with a great example.  

We understand the unique challenges this new situation brings to you and your family as you juggle work and supporting your child’s education. Be kind to yourself and know you can only do the best you can. Stay connected, reach out to us and to your support network and share your experiences.

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES
Preparing For Homeschooling, Mentone Grammar Wellbeing 
How to Talk To Your Children About Coronavirus, Mentone Grammar WellbeingHow To Cope With Stress Related to COVID-19, Headspace 
Coronavirus Sanity Guide, Ten Percent
Looking After You, Heartlinks

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