I am Ngaire Astridge and I have been a parent at AIS for 9 years. I am also the President of the AIS Parent’s Association https://www.ais.com.sg/school-life/parents-association/
During this time, parents and caregivers must juggle both the needs of their children’s home schooling and their jobs. It is no easy task for parents who are working from home to also ensure their children follow their learning schedule during school hours as well as to find ways to keep them occupied until bedtime!
As ever, it is important to make our children feel safe, maintain healthy routines and build resilience. Below I share my top 5 parenting tips for these unusual times that we find ourselves in.
1. Create a flexible but consistent daily routine
Create a schedule for you and your children that involves structured activities and free time. Older children or teenagers can help plan their own routine for the day. If they co-create their daily schedule, they tend to follow it! Don’t forget to include daily exercise – this helps children to manage stress and release energy.
2. Keeping it positive
Children are much more likely to do what we ask if we give them positive instructions and lots of praise when they do do something right. These are challenging times for both parents and children and positivity goes a long way to keeping everyone motivated through their days (and days can feel very long at the moment!).
3. Ask your child what they would like to do
Letting your children make their own decisions every now and then builds their self-confidence.
Some fun activities could include reading together, playing a favourite game, watching a movie or cooking a meal together. In our home, our daughter came up with “Cuisines in Quarantine” – we choose a country, research recipes, cook and also dress-up in the colours of the national flag or include pop culture such as music. It’s great fun and it’s a “Circuit Breaker” tradition we hope to continue even after lockdown is over.
4. Take a step back
Be attentive to your own stress levels.
Identify when you need to take a break. Hand off parenting to a partner if possible, take in a breath of fresh air or give yourself time for self-care. Reading a novel is my choice at the moment! Even five deep breaths can provide the head space you need to tackle situations with a clear(er) mind.
5. Keep in touch with friends and family
Technology can be a great way for us to keep in touch with friends and family!
- set aside regular time for video calls to create a virtual classroom or playground
- schedule a reading hour where a family member or friend listens to or reads with your children
- have younger children draw what they’ve done each day and share their weekly diary on a video call with family members or friends
AIS has set up a portal for students and parents to receive updates from the school and this platform is always kept up to date. In the Secondary school, we recently had our first virtual Parent/Teacher conference and it was fabulous that these very important goal-setting check-ins could also be delivered online.
We really appreciate the efforts of AIS in digitalising the school experience as best as possible during this time.