Wellbeing

We’re here for you during this challenging time as you equip yourself to help your child learn at home. Your school, parish and the community are working together to give you the support you need.

Family life is difficult for many of us right now. There can be confusion around  what’s involved in home-based learning, as you balance expectations and reality. We’ve put together this information to support parents and carers managing home-based learning which you can adjust  to suit the age of your child and family circumstances.

Your child's school will provide learning activities for your child to do at home using their normal methods of communication including Compass, newsletters, emails and other online tools. 

Here is some basic advice around

  • Wellbeing
  • Establishing routines and expectations
  • Managing screen time
  • Digital citizenship
  • Wellbeing resources for parents and young people

 Wellbeing

Being confined to home for an extended period of time can feel stressful, frustrating and socially isolating. Tips for taking care of your mental health and wellbeing and looking after your children during isolation include:

  • Talking to your family about what is happening in the world around you and with  Covid-19. Understanding the situation will reduce your anxiety. You might find this video useful  School TV special report video by Michael Carr-Gregg
  • Help your children to think about how they have coped with difficult situations in the past and reassure them that they will cope with this situation too. Remind them that this will not last forever. 
  • Encourage your family to pray together in hope and with compassion for others, for our health workers, the sick, the dying and the poor.
  • Exercise regularly. Ideas include exercise DVDs, dancing, floor exercises, yoga, playing in the backyard or using home exercise equipment, such as a stationary bicycle, if you have it. Exercise is a proven treatment for stress and depression.
  • Have some fun, play games, watch funny videos and movies, sing and dance together.
  • Encourage your children to keep in touch with family members and friends via phone, video calls, email or social media (where appropriate).

Explore ideas on:

Establishing routines and expectations

Learning at home is new for everyone. Your family might like to sit down together to create a schedule that works for you. Establishing routines and expectations early on can make it easier to navigate each day. This may include a schedule or timetable that should incorporate regular breaks.  Remember that parents should feel empowered to introduce flexibility as required.  

Keep normal bedtime routines for younger children and expect the same from your older primary and high school-aged children too.

Managing screen time

‘Screen time’ refers to the amount of time a user spends on a device to access on-screen activities. The Australian e-Safety Commissioner suggests that the right amount of screen time can depend on a range of factors like your child’s age and maturity, the kind of content they are consuming, their learning needs and your family routine.

“Consider your child’s screen use in the context of their overall health and wellbeing – for example, is online time getting in the way of their sleep and exercise? Is it impacting on their face-to-face connections with family and friends? The answers to these questions will guide you and help strike the right balance of online and offline activities for your child.” (Screen time for your child - 7 tips)

The seven tips offered by the e-Safety Commissioner include 

  1. Be involved
  2. Work with your child to set boundaries for screen use
  3.  Be clear about the consequences of not switching off
  4. Set device-free zones and times at home
  5. Ask your child to explain their screen use
  6. Use tech tools to help manage access 
  7. Lead by example

eSafety and digital citizenship

Collaboration, group work and peer feedback during home-based learning will require students to communicate online and work together in digital spaces. We suggest that you discuss with your child and take the time to explore the following resources on how to have safe and enjoyable experiences online:

It is important that during this period of home based learning that we maintain safe and responsible use of information and communication technologies. This includes appropriate use of digital platforms, privacy and information protection, respectful communication and how to deal with online issues.

As you know, Diocesan Systemic Schools have comprehensive security systems in place to ensure that students accessing the internet at school do not inadvertently access inappropriate sites.  It is important that you understand that when students are engaging in home-based learning, they are accessing the internet through your home internet connection and not through the school’s network. Most of the school’s filtering and network protections will not apply so you need to be vigilant about what your child is potentially accessing while they are completing school work.  This is the case whether the device your child is using is provided by you as parents or has been loaned to your child by the school. 

Acknowledgement: We gratefully acknowledge the NSW Department of Education for adapting content from their Learning at Home website for this document.