Well, we’re coming to the end of the first week with the children at home. How did it go?
It might have been delightful in your house, it might have been… er… less than delightful. For most of us, it’s probably been a mix of the two. Hopefully the first week has given you a feel for the things that work well, the things that everyone enjoys, and the things that are going to be tricky.
However the first week went, it’s over now. The weekend gives us a chance to take a deep breath, reflect, and get ready, knowing more about what we’re in for. To help prepare, here’s my non-exhaustive list of practical things to get ready for life at home with primary children.
1. Stop putting the recycling box out
If you’re at home with primary children, the chances are you’re going to be doing some junk modelling at some point. Start stockpiling the empty boxes now: every cereal packet is a potential robot part that you might need in the future.
2. Find something to plant
With an extended period of time at home, there’ll be plenty of time to watch something grow. As well as all of the learning involved, looking after and nurturing something is good for the soul – and goodness knows we could all do with that at the moment.
If you don’t have seeds and pots, don’t worry: an ordinary potato planted in a bucket or waterproof box (with holes in the bottom) should give your children a plant to look after.
3. Find your online pin for the library
Libraries are wonderful places when you can visit them, but they’re also great when you can’t. With your online pin, you can access all of their digital resources, including eBooks and audiobooks.
Depending on where you are, you might be able to sign into an app like PressReader or RBdigital to get free access to magazines and comics. If you haven’t got an online pin, it’s worth contacting the library to see if they’ll send you one. You can also find hundreds of free ebooks on Oxford Owl, as well as some brilliant storyteller videos.
4. Sort out your special or magic items
Every primary school teacher knows the power of the ‘special’ something. For the reluctant writer in Year 1, breaking out ‘the magic pencil’ can be enough to get the words flowing. For older children, magic can be replaced with technology – a ‘specially engineered pen that only works if you use it slowly and carefully’ sorts out most messy handwriting pretty quickly.
Equally, most scrapes can be cured by a dab with a wet paper towel and a special Elsa/football plaster. Perhaps now would be a good time to create a special talking chair where we can curl up if we want to have a chat about any worries, or a special blanket that cheers us up if we wrap it around ourselves.
5. Hide some toys
Really? Surely we need all the distractions we can find at the moment?
Well, here’s the thinking: you know when you’re sorting out a cupboard and you find a toy that hasn’t been played with for ages and it causes huge excitement? That. Hiding some toys now allows them to be ‘found’ in a few weeks time when children are bored of their current playthings. You’re welcome.
6. Think about how to organise the day
In the last blog post, we looked at different ways to organise the day, ranging from a daily timetable to a completely free, unstructured day. What works best will be different for different families. After a week at home, you’ll have a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t.
The weekend is a good time to reflect and perhaps make some changes ready for a fresh start next week. There’s nothing wrong with that – we’re all finding our way in strange circumstances.