Tag: COVID-19

Working from home: the lockdown survival guide for families

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

child relaxed working from home with help of quirky kid

How can we create a productive space for the whole family to work from home? Maintaining your child’s education, your ability to be productive in the workforce and your family’s financial stability has never been so challenging.

Many more parents are working from home alongside their children. Quirky Kid has developed our Top 5 Tips to help families prepare, adapt and conquer working and studying from home together.

Tip #1: Plan a daily schedule together

Routines are essential for children’s growth, development, and sense of normality. To help with creating health routines, each night, sit as a family and map out a schedule for the following day (and support all family members to stick to it!). We prepared a quick fun video to help you create a visual schedule that actual works.

Include tasks for the whole family and allow all family members to contribute ideas to the schedule. Use visual images and/or colours to make the schedule fun and accessible.  For two parent households, alternating ‘work shifts’ may be helpful.

Tip # 2: Include varied activities in the family’s day

To make the most of focus and motivation while working from home together, start the day with cognitive stimulation. This will help siblings get along and adults to be more patient.  Some ways of doing this include:

  • Complete academic activities firstAdults and children are more able to sustain effort and achieve desired outcomes earlier in the day. Parents may need to work before dawn to meet deadlines before children wake up. It may also be helpful to speak with your child’s teacher to access more online learning options. Check in with your young person every 10-15 minutes, depending on their attention span, to praise their ability to work independently.
  • Find fun ways to teach new concepts: YouTube science tutorials are a great way to inspire young scientists to conduct experiments at home. Baking is another way to teach children about measurement and timing. Folding paper planes and using a tape measure to record their top 10 distances is also useful to develop fine motor skills. There are many more examples.
  • Get Physical For younger children, combine your child’s interest in Pokemon, Spiderman or Mermaids with a themed yoga class. These classes are free and go for 15 to 25 minutes.
  • Keep Social: Support all family members to remain connected with each other and the outside world. Family mealtimes and scheduled breaks are an opportunity to take part in a video call to grandparents or school friends. If social skills need refreshing, Quirky Kid is offering The Best of Friends and Basecamp program online. Sign up here.
  • Plan ahead: Parents need time alone too!  Make a “Do Not Disturb” sign and explain the rules and reasons for this boundary in advance. Rewards for respecting boundaries are recommended. Think fun family activity over food rewards.

Tip #3: Proactively manage conflict.

 With family members in such close proximity, conflicts may arise.

  • Create a calm zone under a table or inside a cupboard with quiet music, pillows and picture book. Your young person might like to make their own cozy space behind a lounge or up a tree. Encourage creativity and a Plan B for wet weather.
  • To reduce sibling rivalry, create separate workstations featuring a long-term project for each individual, such as a complex puzzle, Lego build or similar. 
  • Quirky Kid recently published Siblings – a book about appreciating all our brothers or sisters have to offer.

Tip #4: Have a definite start and end to the workday!

To reward your child for their focus throughout the day, try to end your workday at the same time as they end their school day. This will prevent children from feeling frustrated by parents who continue to work when they’re ready to play. Pushing back on your work commitments may be required for the good of your own mental health.

Suggesting alternative work hours, such as 1-9 pm, may suit your situation better and your workplace may be more accommodating than your children.

Tip #5: Support the emotional needs of the whole family

During these periods of uncertainty, supporting the emotional needs of the whole family is important to ensure everyone continues to thrive. To help support your child:

  • Take care of your own mental health! Children are highly perceptive to the emotional states of their parents.
  • Open the lines of communication, and allow them to speak about their concerns.  Here’s a resource to help.
  • Some children may find it difficult to articulate how they are feeling. Play-based activities such as ‘messy play’ (eg; slime, playdough, water-play) and art tasks (eg; drawing and painting) may help children express themselves and process how they are feeling. For more information on the power of play, see this podcast.
  • If you would like further advice about how to support your child during this difficult time, our team at Quirky Kid has well-established telehealth options for our clients during social distancing and isolation.  To schedule an appointment with one of our friendly psychologists, go to our website, or to find out more please contact the QK reception on 02 9362 9297. 

We are here to help you. Join our weekly Lunch & Learn on supporting children’s wellbeing during COVID-19 session for parents with our psychologist.

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Managing Children Anxiety About COVID-19

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Posted on by Zoe Barnes

Managing children anxiety about Covid-19

As the international impact of the COVID-19 virus continues to increase, news about the virus dominates the media, and has entered family discussions and classroom conversations throughout our global communities. Parents and educators are sharing best-practice information on how to manage children’s anxiety about COVID-19.

While families grapple with changes to their daily work and school routines, an increasing number of children are feeling uncertain and anxious about the future. Similarly, many parents and educators may be left wondering how to best support the children in their lives around their anxiety. So, what can parents do in the face of  COVID-19 worries?

Top Tips for Parents to help manage children anxiety about COVID-19

The exact information you provide your child about the Coronavirus is dependent upon their age, and your family’s experiences. However, some general tips to support your children include:

  • Offer alternatives to speaking. Some children may find it difficult to articulate how they are feeling. Play-based activities such as ‘messy play’ (eg; slime, playdough, water-play) and art tasks (eg; drawing and painting) may help children express themselves and process how they are feeling. If you have any concerns, schedule a telephone or Zoom call with a psychologist at Quirky Kid.
  • Keep routines in place. Routines are essential for children to grow and develop typically. In the event of enforced changes to school and work routines, implement an adapted daily routine within your household (i.e. regular self-care, chores, homework). Include fun and stimulating activities, as permitted by health regulations. Some ideas include: baking, family games and outdoor play. Frame changes to routine in a positive way.
  • Recognise and manage your own feelings. Children are highly attuned to the responses and feelings of adults around them. Remain calm when speaking to your children and others about the virus, and model calm behaviour in implementing prevention efforts (including hygiene practices or other changes to routine). Ensure you identify any signs of trauma.
  • Find out what information your child already knows. For school aged children, gently ask what they have heard about the Coronavirus. Offer them an opportunity to discuss any concerns, and calmly correct any misconceptions they may have. To avoid unnecessary anxiety in young children, you may not wish to raise the topic with them directly. Instead, listen carefully for any worries they may raise, or references they make to the virus. Offer reassurance and calmly correct any false beliefs.
  • Provide children with the information they need to know.
    Be honest and accurate in the information you provide and answer any questions they may have. Do not dismiss any questions or concerns they raise. Inform your children calmly and reassuringly about any changes to hygiene practices or school and home routines, this will help in managing children anxiety about Covid-19. and prevent children from gathering inaccurate information elsewhere.
  • Make yourself available to spend quality time with your children. This helps to reinforce that they are safe and offers them ample opportunities to speak to you about how they are feeling.
  • Limit exposure to media. Non- age-appropriate information may increase anxiety and confusion, especially in young children.
  • Positively encourage hygiene practices. Prompt your children to engage in positive hygiene practices calmly and positively. Where possible, make it fun and enjoyable for your children (eg; timing hand washing routine to a popular song).

Seeking Support

If you would like further advice about how to support in managing children anxiety about Covid-19, or you are concerned about how your child is coping, it may be helpful to seek some professional support. Quirky Kid has well-established telehealth options to allow us to continue to provide services for our clients.  To schedule an appointment with a Quirky Kid Psychologist visit our website.

Quirky Kid has in place the following services to held Manage children anxiety about Covid-19:

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Please note: As the information and advice about COVID-19 are rapidly changing, some information contained in the article above may no longer be current.

References
Australian Psychological Society. (2020). Tips for Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety. (Retrieval date: 16th March 2020).

National Association of School Psychologists. (2020). Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource.
(Retrieval date: 16th March 2020).

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