New year new lockdown, but same old worries and uncertainties! No one ever said that parenting was easy but I think it is fair to say that over the past year we have been faced with a whole new set of fears and concerns. I myself am a mother of 3 little and not so little darlings, ranging in ages from 6 – 14 years, trying to home-school, work from home and maintain a home, I can safely say, it is by no means easy…

To add to this there is currently a huge emphasis on education and how much children are missing out on. This is putting even more pressure on us as parents to wear yet another hat… teacher, coach, nurse, entertainer, cheerleader and if anything like my house – bouncer!

But this is not a time to beat ourselves up. At the minute our main priority is keeping our family and loved ones safe, everything after that is a bonus!

If you are familiar with ‘The Growing Child’ a section in issue 32 covers ‘Learning Everyday in Everyway’. Never were there truer words! If we keep this in mind we can see just how much our children are learning at home. There is a wealth of knowledge for all ages that will encourage all aspects of development and foster life skills that may not be possible in a classroom or childcare setting. Children love to explore and investigate everyday objects.  Wooden spoons, pots and pans can be a great music lesson, a little noisy but great! Also we don’t have that worry of visitors calling unexpectedly, sing together as loudly as you can, read another story, the hoovering can wait!

There is nothing a young child likes more than helping mummy or daddy, albeit washing dishes, folding laundry, helping to prepare food. Why not let them help, yes it does take more time, but let’s face it, we aren’t going anywhere at the minute. So it’s the perfect opportunity to encourage this, enjoy this time where you can teach them your own family curriculum. It is a time we will not get back again (hopefully!).

While carrying out these tasks they don’t even know they are learning, but they are acquiring many academic and practical skills –

Communication – learning new vocabulary by talking about what you are doing, learning social cues.

Mathematical skills – counting cutlery when setting the table; measuring ingredients when baking; matching socks; sorting what laundry goes where.

Scientific concepts – adding washing up liquid/detergent to water to wash dishes/clothes; pouring/emptying containers; sinking/floating; mixing ingredients and textures; consistency of ingredients at beginning and end.

Physical development – all fine/gross motor skills are developed through all these activities, together with hand eye co-ordination, balance and co-ordination.

You can adapt these to suit any age group. Learning doesn’t have to be about sitting at a desk reading and writing or using some electronic device. Make it fun, your child will thank you for it. You will find that more learning will take place when everyone is feeling relaxed and positive. And yes school work will have do be done but not at the expense of you or your child’s mental health. It is essential to have the right balance. Home is your happy place, so be kind to yourself, you are doing your best and remember that children learn ‘everyday in everyway’!