"Acknowledge that some days will be more productive than others and if you are working from home and home-schooling, there will be some days when everything is not done. That is ok. Every day is an opportunity for a fresh start".
What are some ways that you suggest parents help their children do their best while learning from home?

Having a structured routine on school days. Having a visual timetable can be helpful to stay on track. Get up, eat breakfast, shower, get dressed and ready for the day. Factor in recess and lunch breaks and encourage students to go outside if this is possible. Allow your child to move around between lessons (even if that is a quick stretch or walk around the room). Ensure that your children have a comfortable place to work with all that they need and adequate light.

Remember your child’s mental health and general wellbeing are the priority at this stage. For instance, acknowledge that some days will be more productive than others and if you are working from home and home-schooling, there will be some days when everything is not done. That is ok. Every day is an opportunity for a fresh start. If your child is struggling in any way, please let the teacher know so that adaptations can be made. Encourage your children to ask their teachers if they are unsure of anything. This can be done via email, Schoology or Zoom chat.

How can parents help their children maintain their mental wellbeing during these times?

Adequate sleep, daily exercise, family time, participating in activities of interest and staying connected to others are all helpful.

Adequate Sleep

The quantity of sleep can change based on age and stage of development: Children aged 3-5 years require 11-13 hours of sleep per night; Children aged 6-12 require 9-12 hours of sleep per night; Children/teenagers aged 12-18 require 8-10 hours each night; Adults 7 + hours of regular sleep recommended for optimal health and wellbeing.

Establishing good sleep hygiene is also important, including: Avoiding caffeine after 6.00pm; Keep the lights dimmed, and avoid screens for at least 1 hour before bed; The ideal room temperature for sleep is around 18-22 degrees celsius.

Allow your mind to wind-down by doing something relaxing like reading a book or listening to music; Try and go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day; Expose yourself to natural light where possible as soon as you wake up.

A Healthy Diet and Daily Exercise

Try and stick to eating habits similar to the school timetable. Having food for recess and lunch prepared in a lunch box may help prevent grazing all day. Drink plenty of water.

In addition to this, a mindful or enjoyable activity each day really helps. This may be kicking the football, table tennis drawing, painting, at home, cooking, or some social time with peers online.

Family Time

Have open conversations , answer any questions that your children may have in language that they can understand. Quality family time and regular family meetings can be important to discuss short term plans, What will we do this week? What is working well? What is something we can improve? Reflect and validate the frustrations of remote-learning/COVID-19 restrictions, but reinforce the reasons why it is important (to keep each other and the community safe).

Special Interests and Hobbies

Allow your children to explore some interests that can be done at home or online, such as cooking, gardening, art, making or creating something, learn an instrument/song. Prioritise time to get outside for some fresh air and sunlight. Look for opportunities to exhibit altruism or acts of kindness (e.g. what can you do for a neighbour?). And importantly, take a break from the news cycle!

General Wellbeing and Staying Connected

Practice daily gratitude and have fun, look for small pleasures. Stay connected to family and friends. Helping others such as neighbours or grandparents - this may be by making them craft things, cooking for them, zoom/facetime or writing letters all help us stay connected.

And finally, do you have any other suggestions for parents?

Acknowledge that this is a tricky time but if we are all working together we will get through it. It is worth remembering that playing games or chatting online is how the students will socialise at the moment as they are unable to catch up face to face unless in VCE. It is the quality of these interactions that is important not the quantity. And finally, always ask for help if you need it and focus on positive things that are happening in your family.

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES:

At school you can obtain support from your child's Class/Form Teacher, House Tutor, Head of House or one of the School Counsellors Elizabeth Grant or Francesca Thomson.

https://kidshelpline.com.au

https://www.beyondblue.org.au

https://headspace.org.au

https://au.reachout.com

https://www.brave-online.com

https://apps.apple.com/au/app/three-good-things-a-happiness-journal/id1242079576

https://au.reachout.com/tools-and-apps/reachout-breathe

There are also Apps that can be helpful including Smiling Mind, Headspace, Check-in-beyond Blue for older students who may be worried about their friends.


Elizabeth Grant, Senior School Councellor

Francesa Thomson, Junior School and Middle School Councellor