As the Coronavirus continues to spread, most people who are used to working in an office environment suddenly face the reality of a new workspace – their own home. Meanwhile, schools across the country have closed their doors meaning that the majority of families are now going to be spending extended periods of time stuck in the house together.
Here are some tips to help everyone survive!
- Don’t Panic! Give yourself time to adjust. A lot of kids are dealing with the stress of having their routines turned upside down. We’re all dealing with the uncertainty of how the next few weeks or months will play out. With so many changes and emotions at play, you can expect things to be a little rough at home for a time. If you don’t have your routine perfected on Day 1, don’t treat yourself too harshly.
- Create separate work spaces. Set up for yourself, where mom and dad can work and it’s off-limits for kids. Give your kids their own school work space. That way, you can leave it set up for the next few weeks. Agree on a signal, so that your kids know not to bother you “unless the house is on fire and brains are spilling out of ears I can’t be bothered”, for times you are on calls.
- Create a routine and stick to it. Once you’ve had a minute to freak out about your life changing overnight, start working on creating a routine. There are a-lot of schedules floating around on line to help you, or check your child’s school website. A schedule is rigid, but a routine orders your days with flexibility. Once this is created, display it where everyone can see it.
- Don’t be afraid to be unconventional. Homeschooling and working at home is hard, especially as you’re first getting started. Can you get up early and work for a few hours while your kids are asleep? If you have a co-parent, could your partner take over in the late afternoon and take full responsibility for one or two subjects while you head off to your home office or bedroom? That type of flexibility will help you stay caught up. You don’t have to work 9 to 5.
- Less is more. Think about how your kids spend their time in a more conventional school setting. Are they really doing hours of academic work each day? Probably not. Take into account transitions from class to class, the time it takes a teacher to work with 20 kids versus one, and the time kids spend in recess, gym, and lunch. They don’t need to be busy the entire day.
- Downtime is your friend. Downtime, or time for kids to work on projects quietly and independently, is just as important as for both you and your children.
Keep up with the basics, read a lot, use YouTube for learning videos, and spend a lot of time outside if you can. We’re all doing the best we can in unusually difficult circumstances — and that’s going to be good enough. And don’t forget to have some fun!
Make it a great day!