Heathdale flower 16th September 2021

Cereal Without the Milk

How is school like a bowl of cereal? Read on to find out how you can help make it easier to swallow during remote learning.

Heathdale flower

Think of school like a bowl of cereal. It’s good, it’s nutritious and it’s usually tasty first thing in the morning. But if you take away the milk, it gets a lot harder to eat all the way through that big bowl of crunchiness.

And that’s what we have now. School is still good and nutritious, but right now our students are missing most of the milk – those elements of connectedness, laughter, friendship and togetherness that make all the healthy stuff of school even better. So, it’s not surprising that some days they find it hard to swallow.

How do we help our young people keep going during this time?

1. Magnify the positives. When they are getting something right, give them extra credit for getting it done during a tough time. Turning up at the right time for class and handing work in – these are great steps of independence, even if they are not being done perfectly. Cheer them on!

2. Encourage social connections. Joining in with online activities and chatting with their friends helps them keep in touch with their mates and foster the friendships they are looking forward to picking up again when they are back on campus. It’s not just wasting time online; it’s spending time with friends.

3. Make room for some light-hearted fun at home where you can. The serious pressures of this time don't go unnoticed by our kids, and they need regular rest from the stress. Some silly fun – a little family craziness, whatever makes you all laugh – will help to get a bit of balance in their mood. Plan a funny movie night, make a picnic up for the backyard or have a crazy hidden object competition. Do something together that isn’t about school or work.

4. Keep some routine happening. Waking up at the right time, keeping chores in the mix, eating healthy meals and going to bed at a decent time. Structure is a stabilising factor and helps things keep their shape during a time of uncertainty.

5. Be intentional about viewing the current situation through a positive lens. Young people don’t always have a strong filter for stress and negativity. That means if they are hearing the negative themes of remote work, lockdown life and the pandemic on repeat, they might not be able to balance that thinking by themselves. Where you can see something positive, point it out. Remember to keep talking about the future and about hope. Make thankfulness a theme around your mealtimes and bedtimes.

We hope our families and students will have some good fun and time off study during the coming holidays. While we don’t know what Term 4 will look like, we look forward to reconnecting with learning and each other soon, whether that be online or in person.