How You and Your Kids Can Survive and Thrive With Home-Based Learning
Home-based learning (HBL) has recently settled upon us once again, and kids are thankfully having an easier time adjusting to Zoom calls and e-learning. Most were able to quickly fall into last year’s pattern of learning, while there remained some who needed additional guidance and parental involvement.
As parents, we need to identify our abilities and limitations to effectively empower our children to succeed at home-based learning. We also need to identify what we can reasonably expect from our kids, depending on their age. We can’t do it all, and I believe our kids cannot either. We have to try our best to ride the HBL wave, provide structure and coping mechanisms for our kids to thrive during this period of time.
As HBL commenced, I implemented a daily routine for our children. It incorporated activities to increase their well-being and provide them with moments of meditation, mindfulness and gratitude. These didn’t just include only academic goals, but holistic goals as well.
I wanted them to practise healthy daily habits and learn how to look after themselves, as it will have a positive impact on their level of productivity and learning. As parents, it’s our responsibility to explain the importance of things like routine, sleep, meditation, exercise, mindfulness and gratitude, which make the crucial foundation of personal and academic success.
Personally, I found several tips from the Getting to Happy Kids Edition card set that I have designed to be particularly helpful for my children in getting through the days. For my rambunctious 7-year-old, I explained I wanted him to try his best in each class. Many times, during the week, his iPad died, and he frantically burst into my room. I calmly explained to him that nothing was lost but a few minutes. In a separate incident, I caught him playing around with the screen filters while he was having his online class and I quickly shot that behaviour down.
When I couldn’t physically be present by my children’s side to supervise them or help them with technical glitches, I put the responsibility back on them, explaining I simply wouldn’t be available during their online lesson. As parents, we need to know what we are willing to sacrifice, what to let go of, and how to empower our kids effectively.
At the same time, these lessons from the card set will aid your children in coping with e-learning, help you to be kind to yourself as a parent and increase the level of happiness and well-being within your family.
1/5 It’s okay not to be okay
As parents and adults, we often assume kids should find it easy to be resilient in their simple lives. In reality, this isn’t the case, and kids need to recognise the fact that some days can be difficult, emotions can be often complex to decipher, and that it’s entirely okay to just feel blue on occasion.
My pre-teenage daughter had such a moment recently, and found it hard to feel positive and move on from the situation. I asked her to find a card she could resonate with and chose this one. I asked her to explain it to herself and she smiled, recognising that, on some days, it’s okay not to be okay. Give space to your child to express themselves and acknowledge their ability to stand back up when they are ready.
2/5 A minute of silence
As adults, we understand the positive benefits meditation has on mental well-being. This precious habit can be taught to children as a life-long habit to help them combat stress, anxiety and burnout.
During the circuit breaker, I taught my kids to start a simple meditation practice every day after e-learning, which helped us to unwind, transition into the evening and enjoy moments together as a family.
Use this as a tool to support kids as they deal with being away from friends and teachers. Encourage them to sit in silence or with calming music in the background and just be present. Enjoy the peace and quiet for a few moments while focusing on inhaling and exhaling…
3/5 Get fresh air
Taking breaks in the day is important and even more powerful when we take a few minutes to go outside. Leave devices and distractions behind in your home and get outdoors for a few moments. Encourage children to take a few minutes on the balcony, or a walk around the block—all the while being present, feeling their feet hit the ground, noticing sights, sounds and smells, and giving awareness to their thoughts.
Spending time in the sunshine increases production of endorphins and serotonin, and helps regulate mood, digestion, memory, sleep and ability to learn. Help support your children to make this a daily habit before e-learning or at the end of the day, to take small mindful breaks through the day to boost overall well-being.
Related: How to Make Resolutions That You Can Actually Keep
4/5 Make a mantra
Mantras are positive statements with which we can encourage our kids to say to themselves to boost confidence and keep their spirits lifted. These encouraging affirmations or insightful sayings keep kids upbeat and happy, and can be used in difficult times.
Get your kids to create several mantras that they can use to keep them going through the day. My kids recently came up with one: “I believe in me”. They say this to themselves during the moments when they struggle. Lara, my daughter, recently wrote her mantra on a piece of paper, decorated it and placed it on the part of the wall right above her desk.
5/5 Show gratitude
When our kids feel overwhelmed from HBL, it’s important we teach them gratitude. Being thankful is one of the simplest ways to increase happiness. At the end of each day, encourage your kids to share with you three things they are grateful for from that day.
For older kids, encourage them to put them down in a journal. As we give thanks to things around us and appreciate the small things, we increase our level of well-being, build resilience, sleep better and have a ripple positive effect on others.
Related: How to Be Happy, According to a Life and Happiness Coach in Singapore
Shireena Shroff Manchharam is a certified life and happiness coach with her own practice, Sheens Image Consulting. Her passion is in helping individuals reach their highest potential and she is always on a mission to bring happiness to people’s lives. Her husband, Ashish, and two kids—Lara and Arian—and her pet dog, Bowen, are her constant source of love and happiness.
This is the eighth in a series by Shireena Shroff Manchharam on mindfulness and gratitude.