Since early March 2020 the world has been gripped by a worldwide pandemic from the coronavirus. Businesses and public institutions of all kinds had to adapt very quickly to adhere to workplace and public safety requirements, sending many people to work from home. That includes students and teachers, creating a drastic new reality for working parents.
Now the work and school week for many families makes it challenging for everyone to stay organized and motivated at home to work and learn remotely in a professional and productive way. If you are juggling working from home with managing your kids’ virtual learning, take a look at the following life-savers that help everyone get through their days successfully.
Schedule and Routine
Parents, educators and experts agree that getting everyone through their work and school days and responsibilities requires sticking to schedules. Whether it’s Zoom or client meeting schedules, school day topics, homework and project schedules, or break and lunch schedules. Children’s health professionals, like Boston Children’s Hospital Michael Rich, say schedules and goals minimize disruptions to kids’ learning.
Work from home parents like Mary Sauer remind parents and kids that routine may be even more important than a strict schedule, as flexibility is just as necessary with kids learning remotely while parents have to be on phone calls and video conferencing and meeting deadlines. Slot time for daily routines like breakfast, remote classroom time and outside play for kids, and alone time for parents to work.
Signs and Spaces
Teresa Douglas, writing for The Muse, recommends using visual cues to help everyone work well together. Create posters with schedules for things with hard deadlines such as school projects and homework completion and parents’ work meeting times. Use stop signs for when you need to work uninterrupted on a phone call or video conference. Let kids create their own name signs and tape off their remote school work space.
Help Kids Adjust
Heading into the new school year, parents and kids are looking at a longer haul of remote learning. Jenna Ryu, writing for USA Today, says experts recommend a few things to help you and your kids adjust to the new school year.
- Know kids’ online schedules, possibly posting them in their school work space for easy viewing to avoid interrupting classroom zoom meetings and group projects.
- Modern learning space design expert Prakash Nair suggests changing up kids’ study spaces from their spring and summer seats, preferably to a space by a window with a view and natural light.
- Homeschool Association of California board member and home-school consultant Jamie Heston recommends purchasing headphones to help students and work from home parents minimize background noise and distractions.
Check Out Employer Assistance
Be sure to check out what additional assistance your employer may be offering for parents working from home with kids learning remotely during the pandemic. Chicago Tribune reporter Robert Channick discusses how employers are helping out their employees who are juggling working from home with kids. Chicago-area employers are providing things like nanny stipends, online activity clubs for employees’ kids, flexible work schedules, expanded child care benefits, additional sick and vacation time, and support groups for parents.
Relax and Remember You Don’t Have to be Perfect
Celebrity parents like actress Mayim Bialik remind us that while it’s important to keep kids focused on remote learning, parents should go easy on themselves with this new process. Actress Angela Kinsey says in her house, she had some days that were better than others and they’ve learned along the way what works best for the kids during remote learning.