With UAE schools set to remain shut and deliver distance learning following the early spring break, we asked GEMS Education’s Head of Safeguarding, Sara Hedger, and Head of Inclusion, Emily Ellington, to share their top tips on how parents can help maintain their children’s emotional well-being while they study from home.
Develop an agreed routine
- Agree the structure for your child’s day – one that includes ‘wake-up’ and ‘school-finish’ times.
- Make sure you are aware of your child’s school schedule for online learning and plan around this.
- Transfer your school’s planner to a home timetable, so you and your child know what is happening and when.
- Consider making your timetable visible so that everyone in the house is aware of the agreed routine.
- Schedule breaks for lunch, snacks and physical activity.
Think about the environment your child will be working in and maintain good learning habits
- Agree and set up a designated workspace that is free of unnecessary clutter.
- Try to arrange this this space so it’s in view of a supervising adult.
- Prepare lesson materials and books the night before.
- Keep distractions to a minimum – turn off the TV and place personal devices out of reach until an agreed time. Using headphones might help if your household is busy.
- Make sure your home Wi-Fi is working and have a plan in place in case the connection is disrupted.
Ensure your child remains connected with their school and peers
- Familiarise yourself with the contact procedures in place at your child’s school.
- Be aware that teachers and school staff should not be using their personal devices to contact families, so double check that all communications with school personnel are through approved channels.
- Be aware of the potential for social isolation. Consider accessing local playdates and activities that could support your child’s socialising.
- If you are concerned about your child’s emotional well-being, ask for a virtual appointment with their teacher.
- Be aware of the ability of social media to provoke fear and misinformation. Make good choices about what you and your child engage with online through these channels.
- If you are unsure about any learning arrangements, contact your child’s school.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Ensure children are supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
- Talk with your child about safe online behaviours and what to do if they come across something that they are uncomfortable with.
- Monitor your child’s online usage and use appropriate parental controls.
- Ensure you know how to raise any concerns with your school.
- Consider stocking up on high-energy, healthy snacks such as bananas and nuts.
- Involve your child in helping you to prepare lunches and snacks the day before.
- Plan regular breaks that include access to fresh air and physical activity.
- Be open to opportunities that would not normally be available. Try to focus on the positives arising from engaging differently with your child’s learning.
Keep your and your child’s login details confidential
- Children should not be sharing information that would allow people they do not know to access their details – this includes social media as well as school online learning.