As a result of the current situation, families are facing extended periods of social distancing. To help families enjoy their time together, Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority offers parents guidance on how to help their children thrive at remote schooling and tips on how to engage children effectively. 

There is a huge difference between elective ‘homeschooling’ and adapting to it very unexpectedly, but there many ways families can balance multiple children’s workloads whilst considering each child’s individual needs and keeping on top of learning schedules. During this time, it is important to recognise that this is an abnormal situation to be in, so be kind to yourself and look at the positives in every situation. 

TALK ABOUT IT 

Children easily pick up on conversations and uncertainty parents might be experiencing. As a result, this can lead to changes in a child’s behaviour, schooling and overall wellbeing. It is important to regulate the content that is seen on the news and discussed during phone conversations with friends and family.  

Try to take those conversations away from children to help reduce unnecessary worry. Talk to children about any fears or worries they might have and validate their feelings by addressing any questions that come up. During this time especially, it is important to create an honest and calm space for children to address concerns. 

TRY TO STICK TO A ROUTINE 

Before any routine, it is important to take a step back and consider how easy it will be to stick to. Keeping a normal consistent routine for young children can be a stress reliever. To ensure a sense of normality for children, plan a routine that mimics a normal day at school or nursery by incorporating playtime, arts and crafts, fun activities that involve other family members and reading. When planning a schedule, it is important to remember that things do not always go to plan, so try not to live by the clock and be flexible to adapt to changes when needed.  

WHAT IF MY CHILD FALLS BEHIND? 

Planning is a blessing for many parents, and setting and sticking to short term, realistic and achievable goals creates a calmer household. At the same time, it is important not to get overwhelmed by the thought that your child may fall behind. You can do some trials and ask an expert to find the right balance and the suitable environment that will improve you child’s skills.  

If your child is not adapting to a set period of online learning, then adapt to spreading the work little and often across the day. It is important to recognise that this period is also a huge transition for children to adapt to as well. Children may also be facing anxieties, so it is important to not add to them by setting overly high expectations during this abnormal situation. 

Children represent the future. Encourage, support and guide them.