Madeleine Taplin

As Sydney remains in lockdown, a number of things about our daily lives have changed. Most importantly, online learning is back, forcing kids out of the classroom and into home-study. It is well known that children tend to be sensitive to change. It can bring anxiety to the front and potentially create poor/negative behaviour. In order to deal with change appropriately, we have to start by making children understand that change can be good! By phrasing lockdown as a gained opportunity rather than a missed one, we can start to alter the way in which they see change. However, too much change in a small period of time can be stressful, and this is where routines are essential.

Routine creates stability and establishes consistency- something kids experience on a daily basis once in the school system. By creating and maintaining a schedule, something similar to what they would experience at school, we can help our children feel safe whilst also providing a sense of order and normalcy. Additionally, children need to know what is happening throughout the day in order to adapt their behaviour accordingly. By setting boundaries between ‘work’ and ‘play’, we can ensure that the day runs smoothly without stress, temper-tantrums and adequate time for relaxation.

Sit down with your child and talk about how you want this lockdown period to look. Be honest and open about why they aren’t in school, why it’s important that we continue learning at home, and how this is going to be done. By making it clear to children what their responsibilities are, they are more likely to adapt far quicker.

Think about starting each day at the same time as you would for school. Go through the normal routine, and perhaps consider getting your child into their uniform to help signal to them that it is time for work. Ensure that you write up on a whiteboard or a piece of paper what the plan is for the day- when are we having breaks, what can we do in these breaks, what will we eat for morning tea and lunch, when does the school day end, do I need to still do homework outside of ‘school’ hours? These are all the questions your child will be thinking about, so be sure to address them in your plan.

As a parent working from home, ensure that you aim to have your work schedule line up with your child’s, and make sure you are located close to them during the day. This helps to signal to your child that even though you are both working, you are here for each other and there to help when needed. Finally, remember to keep your cool. Sometimes, kids are going to lose it, and need reassurance that everything is ok. Work together and make this lockdown period as smooth and successful as possible – and start creating that schedule!