By Sarah Balke
Many parents have a new reality they are facing. Being a dedicated full-time employee and parent is hard enough, but now throw in new technology, online learning, keeping up with classes, homework, and doing your best to make sure your kids are successful - this can feel exhausting and overwhelming. Give yourself extra credit and a little boost to keep your body feeling its best.
Here are a few tips to help you and your students be successful:
1. Create a schedule and keep a routine, including bedtime: Kids are used to learning with a set schedule. This can be tricky if you are sharing devices, internet bandwidth, and your time. Determine a schedule that allows you to be both an effective employee and lets you help your kids with learning. Set aside evening time for homework, so it doesn’t interrupt your workday. When it comes to bedtime, set a sleep and wakeup time for both you and your kids. Sleeping on a pillow that provides proper neck support may help you sleep better and wake feeling ready to face your day!
2. Set up a virtual “recess” with classmate: Using Zoom, House Party, FaceTime, Google Duo, or other group video chat apps, you can set up a virtual recess for your kids. The kids can have some face-to-face time and get in some fun activities with their friends to break up the day.
3. Encourage creativity: If the school day is a bit short compared to your workday, encourage your kids read, write to a grandparent or relative, or do other activities that promote creativity such as a painting class, learning to crochet, cook, or sew. YouTube is an incredible resource to help kids learn new things.
4. Set up a dedicated learning space and work on writing skills: Disruptions to your workday can create frustrations for both you and your kids. Designate a learning space that is separate from your working area. Encourage them to ask questions by writing a note and slipping it under your door or ask them to send you an email if they have their own account. This will allow them to ask for help when needed, and you to address the questions as time allows.
5. Take time for yourself: Self-care can be one of the easiest things to let go when you are feeling overwhelmed, however, it may be one of the most important. Stress and fatigue can lead to headaches and body pain. Before bed, try drinking a cup of lavender tea and relax with a moist heat pack over your eyes. If you do experience headaches, adding pressure and cold therapy at the base of your skull can help relieve the headache pain.
6. Give yourself credit for using alternative teaching methods: Have your kids join you in meal planning, generating grocery lists, online shopping, cooking, and clean up. Try something new by following a recipe and doubling it! This gives your kids an opportunity to show off some of their math skills and a sense of accomplishment when dinner is served.
Most importantly, your kids will be ok! Do not stress out because they are not learning the same way they would at school. When you feel stress, your kids feel it too. Learning from home and being distanced from friends is already very hard on them. As a parent, all we can do is give it our best shot. Focus on what is most important and know that you are enough, even on your worst day.