More playtime will ease home school stress Keeping a school/life balance and encouraging playtime is key to easing home schooling stress for children and parents alike, according to our accredited Occupational Therapist (OT). NAPHL Health Hub Townsville OT Courtney (pictured) said it can be tough for children to separate learning and leisure when it is all happening in the one place: in their homes. “During this time, children’s normal school routines are disrupted, which can have a very negative impact on engagement and learning,” Courtney said. “As children are within their own home which provides comfort for them, it can be very difficult to engage them in activities or motivate them to complete school work.” Courtney, who works with children of all ages, reassured parents that it is okay to embrace the disruption to schooling and encourage more playtime in children’s days – in fact it is recommended. “While learning in the home, it’s really important to separate school from home and achieve school/life balance as best as you can." “But maybe even more important is to set aside time to play with your children during this time." “Amongst our busy schedules, we wouldn’t usually get free time to spend with our children, so really use this as an opportunity to explore new activities, be creative and build on the relationship you have with your children.” Courtney’s tips for achieving a school/life balance: Allocate a specific space for school work. Whether it’s a study desk or just the dining room table, allocating the space will help children know that when they are using this space, they are required to complete school work. Limit distractions in the home. Ensure the TV is turned off and there are no other distractions that can cause the child to lose focus and attention. Introduce a visual timetable. Outline what times you will start doing the schoolwork with the child, and when it will finish. For example, if a child can see that they are required to do their school work from 9:00am -10:00am and then they get a morning tea, and then 10:30-12:00 before they get lunch, it will act as an incentive to engage and complete the work. Don’t expect a full day of school work. Children cannot be expected to complete a full day of school work while at home. Allocating the morning for school work and having the afternoon off to play will allow the child to learn while they are most alert, and ensure they are receiving balance between work and play.