Living in lockdown brings blessings of family togetherness sharing many beautiful moments of laughing together and enjoying each other’s company. It also brings the challenges of supervising online learning, often while trying to complete our own work from home.
This is when we can reach out for some Lifelines for Lockdown, which can keep us healthy, and keep our family intact! Here are 12 ideas to get you started.
1. Schedule a weekly family meeting time – designate a meeting time when all family members come together to share how they’re feeling, share what’s working well in the household, and what isn’t. Be honest and authentic. Model problem-solving for your children. Generate solutions and pin a framework for family engagement rules on the fridge. Be ready to revise them often and reference them when tempers flare and the temperature in the household rises.
2. Ask for help – when the going gets tough, always be prepared to ask for help. This can mean reaching out to your child’s educators, our school psychologists, the Wellbeing Team, or any other support person that will help you. Talk to other parents and share wins, challenges, and ideas. Reach out to friends to ask for help and to offer your help in return.
3. Keep a clear, school-day routine – make sure your children wear school uniform for online learning. It keeps their brains prepared for learning and differentiates the school part of their day. Keep food breaks as similar as possible to a school environment including preparing recess and lunch in school lunchboxes and offering ‘crunch & sip’ veggie sticks and water as an ongoing snack.
4. Screen time vs green time – ensure that there’s a clear differentiation. Make sure your child’s lunch break is off-screen every day, and explore lots of off-screen activities after school, getting outside and moving as much as possible. Keep all devices (including mobile phones) outside of your child’s room at night and during break time.
5. Nourish your body – with healthy, meals and snacks, trying to punctuate the day with set mealtimes for everyone. Use mealtimes as a communication moment especially in the evening and at breakfast.
6. Maintain a dedicated space for online learning – ensure that students are not mixing their sleep and workspace. Don’t allow your children to engage in online learning from their beds. If their learning space is in the bedroom, ensure that it is set up as a dedicated learning space with a visible timetable and all their school supplies. Re-set the space at the end of each day so it’s ready for the next morning.
7. Provide some hope on the horizon – plan something special for your family every day. This can be as easy as going for a walk together and having fun outside or purchasing a small online treat and enjoying the excitement of un-boxing it when it arrives. Maybe try baking together or exploring our Briyut BaBayit ideas.
8. Maintain a safe socialising framework – monitor your children’s online social network and guide them through any negative actions. If appropriate, report any negative actions to our Wellbeing Team or your child’s class teacher. Remember that children are investigating social discourse and don’t intend to act inappropriately or to post inappropriate items. We need to ensure we don’t judge them, rather provide wise guidance on actions that suit different contexts.
9. Stay happy and connected – structure a virtual playdate between buddies so that your children are seeing their friends’ faces and having some natural child-play moments together. Reach out and ensure that you stay linked to grandparents, uncles, aunts, close family and friends.
10. Utilise the timetable structure – keep students engaged and motivated. The latest Moriah B’Yachad Online timetable has been structured through careful research with other schools that have flourished during extended lockdown. Lessons are scheduled to achieve the optimal learning time for students very carefully with movement breaks to provide a release from screen time. High-cognitive load activities are scheduled in the morning followed by a substantial break. The afternoon menu of activities has a reduced cognitive load and increased physical activity with open-ended learning participation.
11. Look for chesed opportunities – over-indulge in goodness. When we do good things for others, it releases oxytocin in our bodies, which is a hormone associated with warm and fuzzy feelings! Find an opportunity to reach out to someone else and by doing this, raise your own spirits and wellbeing.
12. Embrace Shabbat – make it a special moment in your weekly calendar. Nurture the routine of Shabbat preparation carefully. Gather your family members and come together in this beautiful space of light and hope.
The most important thing to remember is that each family in our College is a valued member of our Moriah Family. You are important to us and are front and centre in all we plan and do. Feel safe, feel supported and know that difficult times pass and the next phase will be all the more amazing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynda Fisher is the Head of Primary School at Moriah College in Queens Park, NSW.