To be sure, COVID-19 has changed all of our lives in ways both big and small. For many of us, that includes having our kids at home. Depending on their age, and the impact of the coronavirus where you live, the kids are likely beyond the “snow day!” novelty of staying home … and also looking to you for cues on what comes next.
This isn’t summer vacation. It’s unclear how long the pandemic will go on, and it’s important for them – and you – to continue with routines, study time and some structure that will keep them on track mentally and physically for the weeks ahead. Just keep in mind that there is no script for any of us in this situation. Much like in the game of golf, keep your eye on continuous improvement, not perfection.
On one hand, this is a wonderful opportunity to spend more quality time together as a family. If your own work arrangement allows, why not enjoy family breakfast at a bit more leisurely pace? The first “class” of the morning could be Home Economics!
And if you are also working from home, you might want to integrate some family stretch breaks or coffee/tea/juice breaks with the kids. Be creative. You can even schedule an “appointment” or “meeting” with them for fun and serious activities, discussions and check-ins throughout the day or week.
Many adults who are now working from home are getting a crash course in technologies such as Zoom, Trello, Meet and more. This is a great opportunity to involve your kids, as appropriate, with a glimpse into your work and career. They may even help you figure out how to use those digital sticky notes or remember that mute button a bit quicker.
Another important part of home schooling – very much like working from home – is to have a dedicated area or two for school supplies and study time. Having books and other study materials strewn about the house can cause stress and delays when it’s time to get to work. You might even suggest they keep all the items tidy in a backpack or basket, similar to a regular school day.
Most schools have established daily or weekly lesson programs and plans that may include audio, video and interactive online learning. This situation is new for all of us – parents, teachers, students – so perhaps the most important thing to remember is that we are all adapting to new ways of learning. So patience, understanding and kindness are key. You can hear some educators’ perspective and tips here.
You know your children better than anyone, so be mindful that if they aren’t naturally independent learners at school, they may need extra support and guidance at home. And if they are strong learners who become easily bored when they are not challenged, you’ll need to adjust for that, too. If your child is a social learner, why not schedule a virtual study date with one or more of their classmates to help them keep connected and engaged?
If you already have a family calendar that you follow, adjust it to work with your new work/school/life situation. And if you don’t have a family schedule, now is a great time to start! Of course, you’ll want to have a regular study time built in, but remember to keep it flexible and also build in time for fun and fitness.
What are your tips and tricks for keeping your family on track during these times? Please share with us. We are all in this together.