"You can have it all." It’s a polarising fallacy that can send parents into a spin.

If you’re studying with children in lockdown, you'd be sharing what’s just become your home office and classroom combined. And the pressures have undoubtedly amplified.

The important thing to remember is that it’s not realistic to have it all – or do it all – at once.

During these challenging times, you deserve massive props, and all the encouragement and help you can get. Read on to get yours – with 10 tips from experienced early childhood educators to help you succeed, and more than 50 resources to keep you sane.

10 helpful hints & insights for parents

Experienced early childhood educators from VU’s Children’s Centre shared their valuable tips – and resources – for parents and kids of all ages. Some will suit your littlies while others are great for tweens and older kids.

1. Cut yourself some slack

While your children are your priority, you’ve taken this great chance to study so don’t let it go! This too shall pass. It's a massive exercise in resilience that you'll be so proud to get through.

2. Routine and expectations

Lots of kids thrive on routine and find comfort in familiarity. Keep snack and lunch times consistent each day. A meal together can be a chance for a family to ‘reset’, let go of any stresses from earlier in the day and start afresh.

3. Take regular breaks

This is particularly important if you live in a small house. Make this part of your routine so you’ll stick to it – and so the kids will hold you to it!

4. Do things that aren’t ‘special’

It doesn’t have to be all papier-mâché and baking cupcakes. Ordinary activities are great – kids typically just want to be near you and may enjoy washing the dishes or vacuuming. If you’re allowing kids to have devices, balance it with fresh air – go find those bears and rainbows in the neighbourhood.

5. They’re learning, I promise you!

Don’t worry about curriculum with younger kids. Counting worms and digging in the garden – that’s maths and science. Give them independence. Let young kids pour their own cereal (with portions measured out), or let an older child take to a broken toaster with a screwdriver to keep busy.

6. Limit choices

Don’t bring out new activities constantly. If you’re providing tasks, give them one choice (or let them take ‘pot luck’) and try to keep them focused on one activity at a time.

7. Save your aces

Try and prepare the night before and have a few aces up your sleeve. Save the best activities or treats for when you need them most – just as a Zoom lecture’s about to start or you need to hit the books.

8. Keep up emotional learning

A lot of play-based learning is encouraged by peer engagement. Help kids stay connected and communicating through regular video catch-ups with friends and family.

9. It’s cubby time!

Grab a bunch of sheets, blankets and cushions – cubby time is almost a guaranteed time-buyer. Serve lunch in there and throw in a pile of books, dolls, bedding or Lego. Don’t underestimate the power of turning a kitchen table into a tent!

10. Engage a little, gain a lot

If you can 100% engage with kids even for short periods, they’ll fill their attention tank and stop pestering for longer so you’ll get more done.

A little fresh air goes a long way.

50+ amazing resources to educate, entertain & empower

Below is one of the most comprehensive ranges of resources we’ve seen for kids of all ages. There’s something for everyone – from coding to cooking, museums to music and Mars roving. There’s also age-appropriate information for kids about coronavirus, mindfulness and teaching resources.

List of resources courtesy of Noah’s Ark, services and programs for families who have a child with a disability or additional needs.

  • Scratch teaches students age 8-16 all about coding.
  • Kodable: coding for 4-10 year olds (subscription required after free trial).

  • Google Arts and Culture partnered with over 2500 museums and galleries around the world to offer virtual tours of their spaces, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum.
  • The Louvre, Paris, is also offering its own free virtual tour online.
  • The British Museum in London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.

  • Learning from home in an early childhood setting: Victorian State Government Department of Education and Training.
  • Have fun teaching: Free Coronavirus relief packs are available for preschool to grade 5.
  • Sparklebox: thousands of free primary teaching resources.
  • Twinkl: teaching resources, worksheets and ideas. During this period, Twinkl is offering every teacher and parent in Australia access to all resources with a one-month membership, totally free of charge. Enter the code AUSTRCODE.

Explore the world from your living room with virtual tours for kids.

Find out more

While we run our classes remotely during this time, our students are experiencing great results thanks to the VU Block Model. You can enrol now and begin your studies in mid year.

Apply now, start July

 

If you have any questions about VU's COVID-19 response, please contact:

Phone: +61 3 9919 6398

Email: [email protected].

Keep up to date with VU's response to the coronavirus. This page includes FAQs for students and staff, and helpful information and links to government sites.

Thank you to the wonderful staff at Victoria University's Footscray Nicholson Childcare Centre for contributing to this article.