Maintaining student well-being through the Coronavirus and lockdown period can continue, even though there’s so much uncertainty. Whether you’re a teacher or parent, there are lots of ways to encourage children to manage their anxiety and make the right adjustments to the drastic changes in their lives.
Lockdown can make the best of us feel lonely and isolated, even when living with others. Children and young people are used to spending a lot of time with friends and peers in the classroom, at break times, and after learning too, whether that’s at extra-curricular clubs or just socialising.
Encouraging students to stay connected with their teachers and peers is essential for maintaining healthy well-being during these difficult times. That can be easier said than done of course, if you don’t have the right systems and technology in place – and if students struggle with access to WiFi or their own equipment. Discussing with students on a regular basis how they’d like to communicate and if their situation has changed at all, is the best way to stay connected and ensure their well-being is on track.
Physical education at school is not always everyone’s cup of tea. From team sports to athletics, some children just don’t enjoy mainstream exercise within the curriculum. However, lockdown allows you to be more creative with your lesson plans and encourage students to get active, however they wish – and only if it’s possible. Some students won’t have gardens, others won’t have the right equipment or space in their homes, so provide them with options on how to get active.
Whether it’s simply going for a walk or doing some stretches in the living room, any kind of movement is a great way to keep your students active, as well as improve their well-being. Try your best to join in as well, as your well-being is equally as important.
Mindfulness comes in many forms, but can be tricky in today’s modern world – and with a pandemic happening. Being present in the moment and keeping focused is difficult for adults, let alone children, but encouraging your students to become more mindful and present, will help relax them and improve their learning.
You can achieve this through setting certain tasks, such as being with nature and observing what’s happening around them, as well as setting reflection time each day, so students can think about what they’ve achieved – and what they’d like to achieve for the next day.
Routine is important for young children. Having a structure in place ensures they have a purpose each day and remain focused on their learning. Encourage structure through lesson plans and tasks – although you can’t plan their whole day for them, offering an element of structure for some part of their day will be beneficial.
You could even provide them with an example of a daily routine that they can follow, as well as inviting them to add tasks and activities in that they’d like to achieve themselves.
Although not many children are inside a physical classroom at the moment, they’re learning through a virtual classroom – and time outside of that is still important. This doesn’t mean that learning has to stop, however. You can provide ideas and activities that students can complete(but aren’t mandatory) outside of the classroom, allowing them to continue learning.