Balancing work responsibilities while supporting your children’s virtual learning is no easy task. Whether you are working inside or outside your home, hosting a classroom in your home at same time is incredibly difficult. A parent can only wear so many ‘hats’ at once! The following are a few tips and tricks to support you and your online learner .
Working from Home
1. Have designated work and learning areas
- Make sure your child has a space to do their school work that is ideally outside of their bedroom. Bedrooms are meant for sleeping and if your child stays in bed to do work it is likely that they will be less productive and more distracted.
- Have a working space for yourself where you can set boundaries with your kids. For instance, if you have a space where the door can close tell your kids that when the door is closed you are not available and when it is open you have time to help. If you don’t have that option you could use another visual, such as headphones, to signal when you are and are not available. If your headphones are in you cannot talk and when they are off you are available.
2. Make a visual schedule for the week
- Print out a weekly calendar with the expectations of the virtual learning day and laminate it or have multiple copies.
- Under each hour list what your kids should be doing and where they should be.
- Leave space to add more with a dry erase marker in case you missed anything.
3. Include much needed breaks in this schedule!
- An important part of balancing work and virtual learning is to schedule in solo decompression time for both of you.
- Make sure you find time to recharge your batteries. Even if you can only find 10 minutes in your busy day, take that time to take a walk alone, exercise, or meditate. Use this time as a grounding opportunity to regulate and energize yourself.
- For ideas on how to best use your child’s break time, check out our article!
Working Out of Home
1. Ask for help where you can
Utilize family, friends, and your community wherever possible to collaborate on helping your child have the support they need during the day. This is a time to rely on your community for support.
2. Schedule nightly check-ins
Spend time in the evening with your child going over what they did during their day and helping with homework where needed. This will both help you stay connected to them and also help you keep up with their school work expectations.
3. Reach out to teachers and administration when needed
If your child has an IEP or a 504 plan talk to your child’s teachers about the expectations. Make sure they are utilizing their plan in some way, whether it be setting up after class check in’s or sending your child a more detailed explanation of the work they are expected to be doing. The school still has a responsibility to make attempts to support your child where needed.
1. Grades will be lower this year. It is OK!
Virtual school is very difficult for many learners. Many kids need one on one instruction, others are kinetic learners that learn through doing, and others have anxiety and can’t focus while on camera. There are so many road blocks for kids with virtual learning. It is ok if they aren’t thriving in this environment. Everyone else is in the same boat, you are not alone.
2. You really are doing your best
There is no operating manual for this situation. Some days will be harder than others. Give yourself a break if your kids have more screen time one day because work is piling up. Be kind to yourself!
3. Lastly: Winter is coming
- In Chicago, winters can be difficult and school will still be in session all the same. To get through being confined inside, it is helpful to try and shift your mind space into one that embraces coziness, indoors, and warmth.
- When not in school build forts, snuggle up with your kids and watch a holiday movie, tell stories in bed with cocoa, read their favorite books, find creative ways to transform your home into an adventurous and creative space.
- Take it one day at a time. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, we just need to make it through a little longer!