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Top tips for Crawley parents supporting children at home during coronavirus pandemic

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For many parents, the prospect of having to support their child’s learning from home may seem daunting, especially at such short notice.

Nicola Anderson – Head of Customer Support at online tutoring service MyTutor has provided her tips to reassure parents at this time and advises how they can support their children as fully as possible.

1. Make sure they’ve got a space to work and the equipment they need

Set up a desk in a quiet corner of the house where your child can keep their laptop, textbooks and notes – they’ll find it much easier to focus and the rest of the family can continue life as normal. As schools would normally provide things like flashcards, exercise books and planners, it may be worth preparing these items now should closures be enforced at short notice.

2. Set good habits around phone use

Teens spend a lot of time on apps speaking with their friends anyway – and isolation will only increase their desire to communicate socially. While some communication will be positive for their mental health, the opposite is true when social media fuels feelings of isolation and anxiety. You’ll need to set some ground rules for how phones are used during the day, and keep an eye on your child’s mood.

3. Help them organise their day (and make sure they go outside!)

Without the structure of the school day, and without the engagement of peers, motivation and energy can take a dive. Help your child set up a timetable that’ll work for them and covers the subjects they need. Divide up periods of study with active breaks. Make sure your child moves, goes outside, eats meals at the appropriate times and has offline conversations.

4. Have some go-to resources lined up

You’re likely to run into situations where your child doesn’t understand some of their course content and you’re unable to help. In these situations, having some resources ready is wise. Look up the specifications for the subjects your child is studying from the relevant exam boards and bookmark any online resources that can help you out. Save My Exams and S-cool are two handy sites.

5. Look for online support 

Self-study is an incredibly hard skill to master and secondary school pupils may struggle without someone actively explaining concepts to them. It’s worth finding an online tutor who can help your child fill in any gaps in their knowledge. Online lessons are like having a face-to-face skype call with a tutor but with an interactive whiteboard on the screen too so students can upload documents and make notes. A tutor can keep students on track with the syllabus and give them a much-needed boost of confidence in what is a confusing and challenging time.

6. Keep an eye out for mental health issues

If you have to homeschool your child, don’t panic. We’re more set-up than ever before to manage a situation like this. Remember, lots of parents (about 50,000!) choose to homeschool their kids regardless of Coronavirus. What is important is to look out for signs that your child isn’t coping mentally with a home set-up. Despondency and withdrawal or anger and higher-than-usual levels of irritability can all point to stress. There are lots of great services you can call on for support such as Kooth and YoungMinds.

Coronavirus

Over 580 people come forward to become a police emergency volunteer in Sussex

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The Chief Constable has praised hundreds of members of the public who have come forward to offer their services to support the county’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Following a call for support last week, more than 580 members of the public have expressed an interest in becoming a police emergency volunteer to help support Surrey Police and Sussex Police should resources reduce or additional specific skills and experience are required.

Sussex Police is continuing to plan ahead during this period of dealing with Covid-19 and as such, is creating a database of retired police officers, specials and police staff who may wish to return to policing for a temporary period, and members of the public who may have specific skills that would be of use.

Sussex Police Chief Constable Giles York said:

“We would like to say an enormous thank you to everyone who has expressed an interest in becoming a police emergency volunteer.

“We were delighted with the response we received and believe it demonstrates the great sense of community here in Sussex, with everyone wanting to pull together and help.

“This is also reflected in how the vast majority of the public are already supporting the force’s work by adhering to the government guidelines to stay indoors, to only travel when essential and to observe safe social distancing.”

As the situation progresses over the next few weeks, Sussex Police will continue to monitor its resourcing levels and assess the potential demand for additional roles. If it is felt a person’s particular skills can be utilised, Sussex Police will make contact with them.

CC Giles York added:

“We will endeavour to update all those who have expressed an interest in becoming a police emergency volunteer, but due to the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of the situation and the volume of expressions we have received, this may not always be possible.

“We ask people to please bear with us and know that even if we don’t respond to you immediately, we are incredibly grateful to you for expressing an interest in supporting Sussex Police.”

Sussex Police continues to engage with members of the public and explain the importance of following the government guidance, to protect public health and the NHS.

CC Giles York said:

“We are encouraging people to comply with the government guidance but if faced with non-compliance we will, if necessary and proportionate, follow up with enforcement action as set out in the new legislation.

“Sussex Police has a strong relationship with our communities and I know my officers will be using their skills and powers in a way that maintains public support. I have received many messages of support from community leaders and the public and am pleased to pass them onto officers who are taking personal risks to protect the NHS, they really make a difference. 

“We would also like to reassure the public that although we are putting these contingency plans in place, we are still in a position to respond to emergencies and carry out the normal day-to-day policing expected of us, to keep the public and our communities safe.”

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