Sam Ryan’s Blog for My Bluewater Tutor – April 2020

I suspect, like me, your first thought about your children at the moment is managing their personal safety and keeping them away from any kind of contact with Covid-19 or anyone that may be carrying it. After all, that’s why they are home from school and we’re all shut away.

But we can’t ignore their education. They need to keep learning to avoid becoming a lost generation. However, before you do that, please consider their mental wellbeing. They won’t learn if they are anxious.

It has been impossible to escape the news about Coronavirus for weeks now. Anxiety already appears to be widespread, but we can take steps to ensure our children don’t suffer at a time when questions are numerous but answers are hard to come by.

As the mum of a nine-year-old, I’m conscious to make sure my daughter doesn’t consume news about the virus to the extent that I am. It is almost impossible to avoid the news completely, so our children have inevitably picked up some of it.

So how do we manage our children’s anxiety?

In my experience, it starts with talking to them directly about whatever is making them anxious. I try to give them time to explain what is bothering them before I jump to giving answers. They need space to articulate what is really bothering them, rather than me being just another adult jumping in and dismissing their genuine concerns.

They are learning how to think, feel and behave in the world that frankly, most of still struggle to come to terms with. That means it probably isn’t a good idea to tell them untruths or try to placate them with ‘don’t worry’ when they clearly are. That will teach them to distrust you and worse of all, their own feelings.

Equally, we need to be calm. If we appear to be worrying, they will pick up on that and it could amplify those feelings. We need to communicate calmly and with confidence.

Other practical steps we should try to take are limiting access to the media and to be careful about what we say around them. Talk directly to them about their concerns and answer honestly.

And when you’re ready to crack homeschooling, take time to check out the guide on my website