Tuesday 28 July 2020

Things I've learned about the children over the last few months

I've seen a few blog posts with this theme so I thought I'd have a think about the things that I've learned over the last few months, particularly when it comes to the children.

Harry struggles with open-ended school tasks. We had a lot of upset if he had an open-ended task to work on, like designing a poster, or sharing his feelings towards a poem. He's much happier when he's given a sheet of maths questions to do that have a right or wrong answer.

Mia prefers creative tasks. She struggled with things that she didn't understand, and got cross when I tried to explain things to her. She loved a creative task, and always put her own individual take on it. 

Harry needs other people around him. I always thought that Harry was happy with his own company, but he was the most upset out of the two to be away from his class. The problem is that he doesn't have any particular friends that he could keep in touch with by text or video call, or meet up with once allowed. Instead he tends to remain on the outside of a group, observing others rather than taking an active role, which is difficult to replicate at home. I was really glad that he had the opportunity to be back in the classroom, if only for a few weeks, just to keep him going until September!

Mia needs time to herself. I thought that Mia always needed company, but she also needs to have time by herself. She spends a lot of time either on the swing or in her room jumping around, and I think that she's doing something which I recently found out is called maladaptive daydreaming. I was the same when I was younger. She's telling a story in her head, and it's easier for her if she's moving while she does it. We spent a few days with family last week and she became very distressed because she didn't have the space or opportunity to do it.

The children really need a routine. Things went way out of shape over the Easter holidays, especially with all the early shock and uncertainty. When term started back up the children needed to log in to their learning platform at 8.30am and it was really good to make sure that we were all up, breakfasted and dressed by then. Now that the summer holidays have started I'm more prepared and there is no screen time until everyone is ready for the day and the children have done ten minutes of times table practice. We also have exercise or outdoor time after lunch, they spend a bit of time in a learning app, and they expect to help me with a few tasks around the house. They also have reading time before bed and Harry has piano practice. 

The children need their screen time. We've never been particularly strict on screen time, but the amount that they use their iPads has gone through the roof. However pretty much all that they do is play Minecraft, which I like to think is a little bit educational. They play with friends, which keeps up their social interaction, and they work together on their builds. This can cause conflict so they need to learn to compromise. It also allows them to escape into their own worlds and use their imagination. When they are back at school properly their time will be limited, so I'm not too worried for the time being.

I need the children to have their screen time. I need time to myself. I need time to get on with housework, work of my own, and to give me some headspace and a break from being needed by everyone. Letting the children have their screen time gives me this (apart from when I'm called upon to deal with arguments and help them to come to an agreement about their Minecraft world!)

To share plans with the children in advance. If we are planning to go out for a walk or some other activity, the children need to have a heads up, and ideally a time set. So if I tell them that we are going to do something at a particular time they are much happier and more compliant.

This pandemic really has been a unique opportunity to spend time with the family and although it's been tough at times, looking back it has definitely helped me to understand the children a little better!

Children on a walk in the countryside

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