As the decision to close schools comes closer, questions around what it may entail, what school will look like or how things are going to operate come into play. Unfortunately, the current health crisis places a large grey cloud over the student’s everyday activities. Students may be displaced from education, their school community and the luxury of spending time with friends each day. To help students adjust and come to terms with what their school-life temporarily looks like, we need to maintain a routine.
Like any normal school day, students go through the motions of getting ready; waking up, getting dressed, having breakfast, packing a lunchbox and the other mundane tasks that come with school. Yet, with no need to wear a uniform, no need to organise a bag or no need to catch a bus, students’ normal routine has the possibility of being thrown out of whack. To help your student stay on track when the inevitable time comes to put the uniform back on, it is important to draft up a schedule. It could be that each night you and your student discuss what tomorrows activities are. These could include, going over maths concepts, reading a book or using online resources to continue to learn. Whatever your schedule may include, it’s important to make it feel just like any other school day, maybe just without the loud bells.
Maintaining a normal sleep routine will also help with your student’s overall routine. While it may be tempting to use the excuse to watch movies all night, students won’t be able to gain their beauty sleep for the next day’s work. Making their ‘new normal’ seem just as normal as before is important in ensuring that your student doesn’t fall into the bad patterns that are hard to break when school comes back around. However, it is also just as important to have ‘duvet days’. Letting your student have a day off or a nice sleep-in might make them appreciate the structured days of learning inside.
Part of the students’ everyday school routine is spending time with friends. Mucking around in the playground or simply sitting in a circle eating lunch with a group of friends is a big part of a school day (I’m sure some students would argue the best part). So, if the time comes to buckle down inside, not having the ability to catch up with friends or go out and do activities with them may affect students … and your moment of quiet. The solution; however, may involve getting rid of all the screen time limits and rules you have enforced Allowing students to facetime or use group chats to stay connected will increase the sense of normality for students and ease the odd feelings of isolation.
So, whilst it may not feel normal, it’s important to maintain a routine and establish a ‘new normal’ for students. Take time to keep up their studies or education and try to keep those late nights and sleep-ins to weekends to help when this all blows over and students will be once again moaning and groaning about having to go to school.