Q. How has your daily parenting been affected by lockdown, and how are you coping with any changes?
Oh my goodness I am so glad that you have asked this question this week. I was about to go on a write a diary entry on this subject anyway as today we have had some melt downs in our family. The pressure of online learning has changed the game for us is a negative way. We are usually emotionally a pretty buoyant family but for two weeks we have been trying to balance the demands of online learning with staying emotionally and physically well and discovered it's just not possible to do both! This morning my very motivated middle daughter ended up sobbing as she described how she was treated by a member of staff in a group online session as she had questions to ask, and because she has just been feeling overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the amount of work set. I am unable to work currently but do have academic work to do but can't get to it as I just don't have the brain space or cognitive bandwidth available after worrying about my 3 kids all eating properly, getting exercise and fresh air, and then this morning sobbing. My mum senses are on overdrive as I just think and feel that this is no way to live. Besides the inherent financial pressures of not being able to work, I feel that online learning is directly damaging the mental health of my family. I hate it and the effect it is having on our day to day lives. They are all in separate spaces, with head phones in so that they don't disturb each other, staring at a screen for literally hours on end and when they have finished it is dark and it is harder to get exercise and they have missed the daylight. I have contacted school to warn them that I feel it's not sustainable but the advice was to take exercise and email teachers that work would be handed in late. We tried that this week but the girls discovered they then just returned to work waiting for them, that they then had to catch up on and that the youngest may get negative behaviour points for late submission. It's basically a mental health disaster and I don't think any other part of the lockdown has had such a negative emotional impact as this. Online provision is obviously varied across schools and I have seen some examples of it being done well. However, for my children they are working longer hours now than the usual school day with little day light, fresh air, exercise, breaks or social interaction than ever. I am really worried. I don't think the school day can just be transplanted into online teaching in the home, it takes twice as long at least to complete the same work and they don't get any of the bits of social interaction that would usually help them to navigate and cope with school. On top of this my eldest daughter is not at university and is also in the crazy online mix, with headphones in and worrying about work, while paying rent for accommodation she can't live in. We can't match up offline time between everyone to get out for a walk each day. I wonder how long it will be before we understand the impact that it is having? Well at least tomorrow is Saturday!