Supernanny to Royals on Homeschooling & Happy Kids

Following a concerning report from Ofsted that found children are regressing and struggling mentally due to the closure of schools and being stuck at home, Signature Staff’s ‘supernanny’ shares her top tips for keeping children mentally active during lockdown…

Lead image courtesy of Signature Staff

Signature Staff, a 60-year-old British company that supplies household staff to some of the most prominent families across the globe – royals and celebrities included – has noticed a surge in requests for governors and governesses. Hardly surprising, given the data uncovered by Ofsted.

Here, Sarah Hankinson, resident ‘supernanny’ and ‘matchmaking manager’ for all Signature Staff’s governors and governesses in prestigious houses across the world, shares her ‘top tips’ for managing a family during lockdown.

1 Keep to a routine
A routine will keep you sane and your little ones entertained. Children respond well to routine and it will be much less of a shock for both you and your kids when they go back to school. Ideally stick to the school day if possible, and setting up an area that is solely for schoolwork is a must if you have the space. Learning in the playroom or the dining room leads to distractions.

2 Forward plan
Plan as best as you can for the week ahead with lessons set by schools, and incorporate time to debrief with your child to pinpoint areas they are finding too easy or too hard. This ensures you are able to liaise with teachers to find activities to push them so they can reach their full potential, or modify tasks so they are easier to understand. Children who are finding a topic too difficult or too easy can find their mind wanders easily, and it can be very disheartening for them.

3 Assess how your child learns
Is your child a visual learner? Kinaesthetic learner? Modify activities to the ways you know they will learn best, and your little one will reap the rewards!

4 Speak to their teachers
Ask if there is a presentation or project you could be doing based on a history topic they are learning about, for example. There are some fantastic resources online, and Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration.

5 Use this time to your advantage
Try to encourage and help them with subjects they have previously found tricky in school. For example, if they struggle with spelling, have a go at different activities to really improve their confidence, so they can go back to school feeling self-assured and ready to conquer that spelling test!

6 Don’t forget about the outdoors
Physical fitness should not be left behind, and the outdoors is a fantastic place to learn and there is no such thing as bad weather. Discuss the environment, and depending on their age you could go one step ahead and discuss environmental factors that are having an impact on the world around us. When talking about this, ask your little one what they think they can do to help make a positive impact.

7 Remember – everything is a learning opportunity
This doesn’t mean you need to be sitting in front of a screen waiting for the teacher to set tasks – it can be as simple as cooking with you and learning simple recipes, or exploring the area you live in.

8 Ask questions
Asking questions gets kids’ brains working. You may also learn some new things too, as children often have a wonderfully different view on things.

9 Set weekly goals
They don’t have to be huge, but reaching a goal is a wonderful way of improving your child’s confidence (plus, it’s exciting!). A goal could be understanding a particular maths problem or finishing a book. Look back on everything you have achieved and reward them for their efforts.

10 Keep things fun
If your child is getting overwhelmed, that’s OK. It’s understandable as they will be missing their usual routine and their friends. We have all been unsettled by the pandemic. Having a little downtime and creating a quiet corner where they can read a story or do a quiet activity independently is encouraged. Audiobooks are a fantastic tool, allowing your child to switch off and be immersed in another world. Make sure you talk to them about their feelings, and what you can both do to help. If they don’t want to talk, that’s OK too – just make sure they know you are always there to listen. Younger children can struggle with expressing emotions, and this can often come out as tears or a tantrum. This is completely normal and is just a sign that they are frustrated and need a break.

Signature Staff is innovating within the high-end household staffing market with its combination of personal services and technology-driven vetting and matching processes. The company handpicks maternity nurses, nannies, house managers, butlers, housekeepers, chefs, chauffeurs for households belonging to royalty, captains of industry and heads of state, among others.

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