18 Tips to Help Parents with their Children during Isolation | “Please Do Some Work!”

This one is for all the caregivers who are having a difficult time getting their children to settle down and do some work during the isolation period we’re currently in. Learning doesn’t have to stop or be a struggle for you and your children. There’s a lot of joy to be had and future achievements to celebrate, so to assist you in this, here are some tips that are sure to accommodate for every child’s unique personality and style of learning. If any of these tidbits help you, please write to us and let us now about it!

  • 1. Make sure their basic needs are met. Obvious one, but often overlooked. When kids are fed, watered, washed and dressed they feel more ready to learn and take on their day. You can even get them to choose a hairstyle they’d like for ‘school’, using it as an opportunity to talk to them about the learning they’ll be doing today. Having a routine and a sense of orderliness is generally very beneficial for kids, particularly when times are uncertain.
  • 2. Always introduce or set work for them in manageable amounts. If your child looks depressed by the amount of pages or workbooks you’ve put in front of them, don’t take it for granted, or pass it off as laziness (even if they are truly a bit lazy). It can be very off-putting for anyone, regardless of their age, to have a huge stack of work put in front of them that they’re expected to complete in one day. Your child can get discouraged, leading to frustration, sadness and procrastination.
  • 3. Give them super frequent breaks for work they find boring or intense. This one takes a lot longer and requires patience. For example, if your child has two A4 pages of text to read, and they absolutely hate reading or the text is boring, ask them to read a paragraph and give them a break for 2 minutes or longer. The child should stay where they are for this to work; there is a psychology to this in that your child will remember that there is work to be done because it’s right in front of them, and their brain will be mulling it over unconsciously, which makes easing back into work much simpler for them. Repeat this process getting them to go back to their work, each time asking them to do a little more than before, with the promise of breaks. Allowing them to take so many breaks might seem like it’s inefficient (it might well be and so requires patience on your part) but you will end up with a complete set of work by the end of the day. You might be pleasantly surprised by how quickly they end up getting it done. Their attitude towards their work may also change, when they realise it’s a lot faster to concentrate for an hour, leaving them with more time to do what they actually want to do.
  • 4. If your child is slightly older and a bit more mature, giving them dedicated study hours, and even asking them what would work best for them, can help greatly.
  • 5. Reward them for a good ‘school week’. You don’t have to spend money, this could simply mean giving the child more privileges, or a choice of snack/sweets from the shops, extra play time etc.
  • 6. Hype them! This means that when they do something and it looks good, even if it’s just one teeny-tiny improvement, go crazy about it! The smile on your child’s face will uplift you, and uplift them, driving them to do more, and continue trying their best. If they are a bit older, simply showing an interest in your child’s work will mean a lot to them and encourages them to keep working. Interesting conversations can come out of nowhere, and you may learn more about your child.
  • 7. Change the environment and/or create an area that is perfect for them to study in. Make the environment comfortable, clean and clear. This could be in the garden, a bedroom, on the balcony, hallway, even in the kitchen. Wherever. Some children like a bit of noise when they work and others need quiet. If your house is busy, you can use the white noise app or classical music to help them focus. Or, you could be more direct, and ask the people in your house to keep it down while ‘so and so’ is completing their work. You could also take some of their work out with you on your daily walk if you’re able to.
  • 8. Be present for them. This means, actually sit down with them whilst they do their work. Kids are used to working with other students and having a teacher to guide them, and whether you’re actually capable of helping them with their work or not, your presence helps them learn. Of course, if you’re working and things get quite loud on the phone you may find this unrealistic, try it either way. Your child might just thrive in your company, and might appreciate seeing how disciplined and different you are when it’s time to complete your work.
  • 9. Buy them some new stationery that looks/smells cool! They will absolutely love to use it, and as a result feel more excited or interested in doing their work.
  • 10. If they’re chewing their nails, getting distracted and being unnecessarily slow, time them. You can use a clock or you can use an online timer. Online timers work quite well for kids, as it generates a bit of healthy pressure.
  • 11. Get a tutor for them. If they’re not getting any work from school at all, or you don’t have the ability to help them, professional online tutors can be beneficial. Kip McGrath Education Centres are doing online tutoring and they have excellent tutors worldwide. There are also tonnes of websites offering free-trials of their services, which give you access to really worthwhile workbooks. Print them all! (Jokes. Save the planet and print what’s relevant).
  • 12. Use free video tutorials from websites like Khan Academy. These can teach your children things that neither of you understand, or need further assistance with. YouTube is good, but it’s still ‘YouTube’ with plenty of distractions and varying methods of teaching children, which may end up confusing them. Khan academy has proved to be quite consistent and accurate.
  • 13. Update your resources. Does your child have a dictionary to hand? Or a ruler? Erasers? Do they have enough pens, pencils and paper? If not, this is a simple thing that can be addressed, and there are plenty of people that can offer these items for free or websites where you can buy these affordably. You just have to ask. Another conspicuous one, but easily overlooked in our experience.
  • 14. Let kids learn together. Whether you want to use technology to facilitate this, or are lucky enough to live close to other kids that the children can sit in the front garden/door step with (2-metres apart of course), working with other kids their own age can make kids feel much more motivated and less alone. Keep in mind that learning can be lonely for children for a number of reasons during this time, and some kids will feel like they are the ONLY ones doing work.
  • 15. Don’t shout at your children and constantly nag them to do their work. Make your expectations clear, be firm and consistent. If they’re supposed to be working 5 days a week, then that’s what they need to do. Show patience and humility to them, taking into consideration how you would have liked to be treated at their age and in their situation (this is one, ‘back in my day’ experience you can’t trump). Additionally, it’s important to acknowledge that if your child is genuinely feeling poorly or is having an off-day (feeling sad, a bit tearful etc.) these are times when they should take a break until they’re better. They can catch up later, just like they would if they were still attending school.
  • 16. Bribery! This is slightly different from giving out rewards, which should be more drawn out and goal/task orientated. Bribery works best when your child absolutely hates learning and offering them a treat every now and then can be an effective incentive to complete their tasks. Although, this should be a last resort and bribes don’t get given out for work that hasn’t been done properly! Set your standards and maintain them by reminding them before the start of each task, that they must always try their best.
  • 17. Use the opportunity to seek professional advice from a licensed educational psychologist if you suspect your child might have dyslexia or has already been diagnosed with any form of learning difficulty which requires more specialised support. Educational psychologists can be a bit pricey, but they are so incredibly helpful! Finally getting that assessment you didn’t have the time, or extra finance to use before, can allow you to identify and respond to your child’s specific challenges, which will massively improve your child’s learning experience, academic proficiency and self-esteem in the long run. The techniques and support they offer will be invaluable and equip you and your child for when they eventually do return to school. Just find a good one with verified recommendations!
  •  18. Lastly, your child will remember this experience for years to come, so make it enjoyable for them. You don’t actually have to do much in order for them to experience enjoyment. All it requires is you keeping calm, being consistent, encouraging and present with them.

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Comment ( 1 )

  • Dominique

    It’s amazing how many things you talked about that I naturally did without thinking. Like new stationery ( I love stationery). Setting high expectations from the start. Being present always. The very first day we started my youngest played up really bad. I had to go back to the drawing board with her. I didn’t take into consideration that she is in reception and that they don’t sit for very long. So now we have jumping jack breaks for her to focus and it works. I’m constantly changing what I’m doing with them to make sure they are engaged. It’s been great to find out their learning styles and to see them learn but without timing boundaries.

    Lovely Blog well done x

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