So this is the new normal: The kids are home all day, you are working remotely, and now you are also expected to be a teacher and manage virtual homeschooling. And you thought law school was challenging! While there’s no road map for this journey, a little organization will go a long way. In other words, the more prepared your children are during this chaotic time, the easier it will be for you to get your own work done. As the founder of Educate for Success, which now offers tutoring, educational consulting, and test prep remotely, I wanted to offer my top tips on helping your children so that you have plenty of time to get your own work done:
Connect with your child’s teacher(s). They are the captains of the ship, and they can help you and your child navigate these unchartered waters together. The more you understand what’s expected of your son or daughter, the better you can help them.
Designate a specific workspace. Set up your child’s work area with the basics including pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks, and even a computer. Make sure the space is quiet and provides a desk, table, or other hard surface (and, no, your child’s bed doesn’t count.) Younger children might particularly enjoy designing the workspace so they have ownership over it.
Develop a daily routine. Begin with a wake up time that is consistent every day. Everyone should get dressed and eat breakfast before heading to their respective virtual school or work. Our brains are sharpest in the morning so prioritize the activities requiring more focus. Try to break at the same time for lunch and then make sure your child has a project or something to work on (even just coloring or doing a puzzle) while you continue to work through the afternoon. Instituting quiet time is another great option for the afternoon.
Set up a snack basket. Make sure you have plenty of healthy and nutritious foods on hand such as apples, carrot sticks, yogurt, almonds, etc. Offering healthy options helps kids focus, boosts energy and provides nutrients for growth and development. Try to stick to specific snack times to avoid your kids eating all day (same goes for you!)
Take advantage of online resources. This pandemic has opened up a world of free resources including access to concerts and Broadway shows, virtual museum tours, Disney rides, so many unique exercise classes, and more. And don’t forget videos such as Baby Einstein for really little ones. Take advantage of these outlets to entertain your children next time you have an important work call that can’t be interrupted.
Maximize outdoor time. For the most part, the weather around the country is somewhat mild. It is spring after all! So take advantage of the great weather and go for nature walks, hike, bike, or even just toss around a baseball in front of the house. Work such exercise into your daily routine, ideally at the beginning of the day or at the end of it after your workday is complete. It’s a great way to connect with family and unwind.
Remember, we’re all in this together. Each of us is struggling right now, though our struggles may not be the same. Remember, it’s important to just do your best and go easy on yourself.
Jodi B. Hammer, M. Ed., is the founder and director of Educate For Success, a tutoring company whose virtual tutoring provides direct instruction in an interactive platform. Its experienced virtual tutors with more than 100 years of combined experience are available to help guide and support children nationwide.