I have to admit that last Sunday was a difficult day. I’d finished all my work the day before, so it should have been a good day to relax and spend time with family… but all day I found it hard to get motivated. I was tired and wanted to sleep. I couldn’t decide what to do with myself. I kept wondering… what was wrong with me?
And then I realized… Sunday was the day that initially we thought restrictions would be lifted. And while we have known for some weeks now that this wasn’t going to happen, isn’t it funny how subconsciously this still had an impact on me…
COVID 19 has provided me with a lot of personal insights and realisations, and like many of you no doubt, I am learning to stay agile with my emotions. And to be grateful to experience and understand so many – I think it helps the work I do at St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School, to acknowledge the different waves of feeling moving in and out of me.
So Sunday made me think about how the families and especially our students may be feeling about the holidays ahead.
Holidays are usually a time to celebrate and do all the things we never have time for during term time – but so much of this will be unavailable to us for some time yet. We also often get away, allowing us to feel psychologically removed from routine and daily stresses. We visit family, escape the country… but how will we approach school holidays in heavy restrictions?
I imagine the younger students will be feeling a little skeptical about the holidays ahead, and it will be important to focus them on this as a wonderful time to take a break from screens and to make good use of those restrictions that have been loosened. As the weather gets better, encourage them to be outdoors for those two hours a day they can exercise. If they have a friend within their 5km zone, why not arrange to catch up for a walk and a chat? Without the time factor of having to be in class at a particular time, this can all be so much easier on holidays.
Interestingly, while many things will be easier and more relaxed, school has provide our students with plenty to keep them busy over the past ten weeks – so being prepared with lockdown hobbies and projects may also be helpful on those days when they too – like me last Sunday – don’t quite know what to do with themselves. Thank goodness for click and collect at affordable stores like Kmart, where you can access puzzles, books, games, fitness equipment and craft supplies for those times indoors. I am actually looking forward to having some more time to catch up on my new hobbies.
But bigger projects can be useful too – holidays can be a time for challenges, either individual or with the family. Learning a new skill is great fun on holidays – especially if it is something they have been wanting to do. Why not assist where we can to help them be more of a Masterchef, artist, fashion designer, coder, filmmaker and so on? What has your son or daughter mentioned that they might like a chance to explore?
And it is okay to ask young people to help with a gardening project or to help clean out the garage – we all need a sense of purpose in this time and to be reminded that communities large and small work together to achieve goals.
Term Three holidays rarely seem like a break for senior students, especially those preparing for their Unit 3 and 4 exams. These holidays could seem like a blessing to some though – allowing them to really focus on study at a time where it matters most without the distractions that occasionally take them away from the work they need to put in.
This could be a good chance to consolidate the year’s work and revise – and to connect with others freely over Teams and Zoom to work together to maximise results.
For these students, you will need to encourage them to be balanced in the break. The two hours of physical outdoor activity provide an important counterpoint to hours on a screen or revising handwritten notes – as do creative endeavours like an art or design project. They may even need more encouragement to do this than usual.
A Word on Screen Time
Let’s all promise each other that while a small dose of Netflix is part of the holiday indulgence – that we will be conscious too of the amount of time we have spent on screens during term time, and our eyes need to take a well-earned break.
That being said – let’s make wise choices with screens too – there are some great online virtual tours at the moment like the Penguin Parade that could be a magical moment amidst the mundane!
If you are reading this via Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter – feel free to post ideas, comments and success stories. Let’s all work together to support our young people on holidays in Lockdown.
Photo by Gustavo Fring of Pexels