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How to help your children get back into the school routine after lockdown (and what to do over Easter).

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By Ishy Levy

6 months ago
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Are your children distracted? Struggling to keep to a regular routine? Unmotivated from lockdown?
Here are 3 pieces of advice to help your children get back into the school routine.

Lockdown has meant change for all of us – especially for parents. Now, with Easter holidays fast approaching and further change on the horizon, it is easy to think of recent developments as a relief. Schools’ online classes are gradually giving way to in-person teaching, the pressures of GCSE and A-level exams have been at least partially lifted, and some of the old routines which we used to rely on are returning to our lives. No giant leap back to normality, of course, but perhaps a small step closer.

But the changes coming out of lockdown can be as daunting and difficult as the changes we made going into it. After so long spent indoors, online interac5on has become the norm for kids when it comes to learning.

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This comes as no surprise: when face-to-face classes become impossible, virtual lessons are the easiest and most flexible alternative. But the way young people learn and act in those two educational environments is very different. What’s more, the brief time pupils will spend back in school before the Easter break means that their chance to re-adjust is minimal. So for some parents, the coming changes may well be a cause for more confusion, not less, as the challenges of helping their children learn grow more complicated.

Each household is different, but there are tried-and-tested methods which can help every parent improve their kids’ transition back to regular school life. And rather than letting any progress go to waste over Easter, there are plenty of online courses which can keep them interested and active during the holidays. Teaching services have thankfully moved with the times, and classes offered by groups like One2Ones can be easily scheduled to suit individual learners.

Distractions, Distractions, Distractions.

No-one can truly multitask. Though it sounds like an exaggeration, that is a truth which has been asserted by behavioural psychologists time and again. Studies have shown that the brain has adapted to focus on one key task at a time. When faced with more it simply switches attention from one task to another, becoming more error-prone and less likely to absorb details in the process.

During lessons, online or otherwise, it can be tempting to focus on something else at the same time. But if a pupil is used to constantly “multi-tasking” during online lessons this will negatively impact their attention span in the classroom, so it’s important to encourage your child to stay focussed during lesson-times. Parents could check in on their kids’ lessons during school hours during lockdown, but it might be trickier to make sure they’re focused in school. So what can be done? The simplest things often have the biggest impact, but beyond the clichés of getting a proper breakfast and plenty of sleep, there are also more imaginative ways to ward off distractions.

Apps like Pocket Points have been developed to incentivise young learners to use their phones less, and the potential advantages of this approach are enormous. (A study by LSE found that kids’ marks increased by up to 15% when they couldn’t be distracted by their phones.)

It’s no secret that during these tech-filled days of lockdown our phones have become constant companions, but introducing some distance to allow for the school routine might make the relationship healthier.


All work and no play...

When kids’ school work consisted mainly of online activities it was easier to stay up-to-date with what they were getting out of their lessons. As they head back to school, this could start to feel like a thing of the past. But it doesn’t have to be!

With the return of face-to-face teaching come new opportunities which weren’t feasible in lockdown, and parents will want to play an active role in seeking them out. Certain kids’ courses simply can’t be taught properly or effectively through a screen, and many will feel like they’ve missed out on doing what they really enjoy because of these limitations.

As these limits are gradually reduced, it’s important to make sure that children can catch up on the interests and passions they haven’t been able to give time to. Sometimes this will be above and beyond what their school can provide, but there’s nothing wrong with looking elsewhere. Activities like kids’ dance or singing lessons, drama, and sports training can all be taught as extra-curricular, and be great outlets for reducing stress.

When lessons and activities can’t yet be done in person, there are courses to be found online which give more than the regular classroom experience. One2Ones, for example, offers online classes on a wide range of activities, hobbies, skills which most schools fall short of including on a traditional syllabus.

“These last few months have taught us something about the famous phrase “those who can’t do, teach.” It’s false, and always has been. It is only those who can do who can teach, and we need them now more than ever. We owe a huge debt to our teachers. So, as the days get sunnier and lockdown gradually fades from view, let’s cheers to that.”


Think about structure for Easter

Finally, it’s important to think about what should be done over the Easter break. The boredom and inactivity which most of us associate with lockdown could make an unwelcome return over the holiday weeks. And though some parents may embrace the challenge of taking their children’s learning back into their own hands, this will be an impossible task for many, as workplaces reopen.

Parents and pupils alike will have earned a lot of rest, but without some kind of a structure to the day time spent at home can become empty, and motivation can wither away. Extending learning into the holidays can be a great way to provide some of this structure, though not in the form of dreaded “holiday homework” assigned by schools. The right online course can keep boredom away, lighten the hardship of schoolwork, and stay fun and interactive: One2Ones hopes to fill this gap, and keep children’s minds curious and motivated! These last few months have taught us something about the famous phrase “those who can’t do, teach.” It’s false, and always has been. It is only those who can do who can teach, and we need them now more than ever. We owe a huge debt to our teachers.
So, as the days get sunnier and lockdown gradually fades from view, let’s cheers to that.



Sources

Beland, L.-P., & Murphy, R. (2015). Ill Communication: Technology, Distraction & Student Performance. London: Centre for Economic Performance.

Pocket Points Inc. (2014). The family game that reduces screen ,me. Retrieved from pocketpoints.com:https://pocketpoints.com/home

Rosen, C. (2008). The Myth of Multitasking.

The New Atlantis, 105-110.Stewart, H. (2020, September 6). Is online learning shrinking your attention span? Retrieved from upbeacon.com: https://www.upbeacon.com/article/2020/09/5ps-for-studing-at-home

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