When the organisers of the University’s recent ‘Parenting in Lockdown’ webinar asked staff what they wanted to learn from the expert panellists, they received a whopping 170 questions.
From the everyday practicalities of juggling full-time work with an infant or toddler at home, responding to the emotional needs of anxious teenagers, or trying to get through a day of remote learning without a dramatic meltdown, Macquarie parents and carers have clearly been dealing with a lot.
Webinar host Nicole Gower – herself a working mum with two primary school-aged children – says the University recognises that most parents and carers are “outside their comfort zone” at the moment.
“We’re trying to juggle it all – some days, things work out; other days it’s a disaster,” she says. “It’s really important that Macquarie staff feel confident to ask for flexibility if they need it, and that managers are regularly checking in to make sure their staff are supported.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our panellists for sharing their insights in the webinar – I know I personally found them very useful.”
Missed the webinar?
Professor Garry Falloon, Professor Viviana Wuthrich and Dr Cara Hildreth join Vice-President People and Services Nicole Gower to give you practical advice and expert guidance on positive parenting in lockdown.
Garry Falloon discusses the impact of lockdown on children’s learning
The Lighthouse spoke to Professor Falloon about the growing concerns around the long-term educational impact of COVID on Australian children. He also shares his advice for parents struggling with their roles as at-home teachers (Step One: “Think of yourself as a “lockdown learning supervisor’, not a teacher.”)
Advice for managers and staff
Managers and their staff should maintain regular and open communication and have a flexible approach to handling workload and contact hours. Adapting hours beyond typical weekday office hours (where possible) can allow the time and space essential to meeting the demands faced by parents and carers.
The University recognises the challenges currently being experienced by staff with caring duties and staff are encouraged to work flexibly without the need to apply for leave. However, if staff wish to do so, the University has approved access by staff with family or carer responsibility of up to one day a week of Family/Carer Responsibilities leave. Staff can apply for this leave in a block of at least one hour and in increments of 15 minutes. If you have questions about applying for leave, get in touch with your HR Client Team representative.
Resources recommended by the panellists
COVID-19: We’ve got this covered!
A collaboration between the Centre for Emotional Health and School of Education, this website includes a wealth of advice for parents and carers.’
Karitane virtual services
The NSW Government is providing support to families with children under five, with Karitane providing a range of virtual services and video consultations.
Tips from Macquarie University Children’s Services
Our own experts in play-based learning have provided a huge range of activity ideas and useful links in this special guide for staff.
Staff wellbeing site
Resources to support your mental, physical and personal wellbeing, including free counselling and coaching available through our Employee Assistance Program. Visit https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/wellbeing.