While many parents have been balancing their work schedules with their children’s at-home learning for some time now, a number of families may continue to find themselves in this scenario for the near future. Maybe you feel like it hasn’t been going so smoothly and you’re looking for useful tips. Or maybe you feel like you have it under control, but you want some fresh ideas to keep your family engaged. Whatever your situation, here are a few tips and tricks that may help.
Be positive and optimistic for both yourself and your kids. Starting the day in a positive manner will set the stage for the day and make for a good outlook.
Stick to a schedule or routine for you and your kids. Getting up at the same time each day, showering, getting dressed, etc. may seem silly to say out loud, but putting our brains in the mind frame of going to work and “school” can help keep ourselves productive.
Take care of physical health by being active outside. Play games, go for walks, do yoga. Both kids and adults need 60 minutes of activity each day. Do so by finding activities you enjoy. This can be done as a family or during individual time. Get up and out every few hours. Even a ten-minute game of soccer in the backyard between work calls can rejuvenate you and give your children some quality time.
Vary the activities for the kids. On your kid’s schedule, add a variety of activities that include some schoolwork, some outside time, some free choice, and, of course, some fun snack times.
Social time is important for both children and adults. Use technology for virtual play dates and visits with family and friends. Invite them to eat a meal with you or play a virtual game or even some karaoke.
Divide responsibilities. If you are fortunate enough to have two adults at home, trade the “kid times.” One adult works and monitors the kids in the morning while the other adult gets uninterrupted work time. Swap for the afternoon.
Take a lunch break with the kids. Give them some undivided check-in attention. Have a picnic outside or have your child prepare lunch with you choosing healthy options to go with their meal.
Take care of your mental health. Unplug from the devices for a while, find a hobby to enjoy, get outside, or vent your thoughts and frustrations to a friend.
Don’t neglect the chores. Add a few extra chores (age appropriate) to the children’s schedule. They could clean their closets and donate unused items, clean out books and put in a local little library, or oversee setting the dinner table.
Give opportunities for extra money. Most kids like having a little extra money. Give them an opportunity to do extra chores for some pocket change to spend later. This could include mowing the lawn, sweeping/vacuuming the floor, washing windows, or cleaning out the car.
Be understanding, forgiving, and flexible. Simply take one day at a time and understand that if the day doesn’t go perfectly that is okay!
As we all continue to navigate the challenges and successes of a different way of life, incorporating some of these ideas may help you manage. Have any other ideas or inspiration? Let us know what your family is doing to maintain the balance.
Maggie Okponobi has a Bachelor’s degree in Education with a Minor in Early Childhood, Science, and Literacy and a Master’s degree in Business. Maggie holds an Elementary Teaching Certification K-6 for the state of Indiana and has a diverse background of teaching, community service, and serving as a board member to an organization that sponsors student educations. Maggie taught for 2 years before heading overseas. Her love of community service sent her to the West African country of The Gambia where she served for 2.5 years as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer working in the Education sector. Following that, she stayed and taught at the American International school for 2 years as a kindergarten/grade one teacher. Once back with family in the U.S., Maggie worked as a grade one teacher at a charter school. From there, she moved into her current role of running School Specialty’s Grant Assist™ program.
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