Normalcy was shaken and stirred 4 weeks ago when companies and schools shut down and most people’s worlds were turned upside down. Parents who were once working in an office with other adult co-workers have found themselves working at home with their new little team of co-workers who are much more demanding, their children! As a mother of two school-age children, who is also still working while also trying to manage to continue my children’s education through online learning, I often find myself a little overwhelmed. Parents have the natural tendency to want to provide only the best for their children and during times like these, it can be challenging. In addition to the role of parent, caregiver, and cook parents are now expected to take on the role of teacher.
Here are some suggested survival tips for parents who are homeschooling during COVID-19.
- Schedule- Maintaining some semblance of a schedule for your child and yourself. 9:00 is always breakfast, 12 is always lunch and 6 is always dinner. Active play after breakfast and lunch can be a great way to break up the day. Don’t forget to schedule a time for yourself! A nice solo walk, a cup of coffee outside away from the house, or a zoom chat with friends. Parents need to self-care before they can care for others!
- Screen time and school work- Monitoring screen time can be very challenging but parents can take steps to keep their child on track until they return to school. Setting a timer for screen time or scheduling screen time during the day for learning and then some “free “ time can help break up the day for active play and avoid children from just vegging out in front of a screen all day.
- Children and boredom- Keep in mind that it is ok for children to be bored! When children are not constantly entertained by their parents, they are forced to use their creativity and Imagination. As long as it’s safe…that’s GREAT!
- The big “S” word- Social media can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family but it can sometimes cause parents to feel inadequate when comparing themselves to what other families are doing with their children. Sometimes staying off social media is a good idea! Parents tend to show the short 1-minute snippet of success of their cute learning projects or Rachel Ray inspired meals that they created for their children and not the hours of prep and 30 minutes of coaxing to get their child to do the activity or eat the meal. Parenting is not a race and we have no reason to compare ourselves to each other.
- Work Station- Create a “work station” for your child is very helpful. This station can be equipped with their tablet or device if it’s an online learning and/or arts and crafts, Legos, and other materials that the children can use during their learning time. This gives the child a designated place to go when they are in learning mode.
- Literacy– Reading with your children is one of the BEST ways to keep your child’s brain learning and growing while they are outside of school. Introduce your school-age child to your favorite book that you read when you were their age!
- Math- Counting the number of birds, you see outside or how many grapes they eat are great math and science activities that don’t come from a book!
- Home Economics- Teaching your older child how to wash dishes, cook a meal, and do laundry are great home economic learning activities!
- History- Have your child take a virtual tour of a museum. Many Museums are offering child-friendly tours and they are FREE!
The most important thing to keep in mind in a situation like this is to take it easy on yourself. This is hopefully a once in a lifetime occurrence! Spend this time with your child in a positive and stress-free manner. Take advantage of those learning opportunities when they arise and if you feel the need to teach your children, teach them in a manner that works for you!