This past year has brought a whirlwind of change. Everyone has had to learn how to adapt to new social distancing rules which has affected everyone in different ways but the majority of parents with school-aged kids now have the unique challenge of making their home not only a work space but now a school space as well.
Whether your kids are at home full-time for school or on a hybrid schedule, there’s a lot to adjust to this year. By now, you’re probably a month or two into the school year which means it’s a good time to evaluate what is and isn’t working well. With no clear answer on when things are going to go back to the old “normal” it’s important to understand what to prioritize to set you and your child up for success during COVID-19
Top 5 PRIORITIES TO SET YOUR FAMILY UP FOR SUCCESS DURING COVID-19
The first thing to prioritize? Space. While you’re at home consider three distinct “places” – school, work and home life. Consider setting a zone for yourself during work hours, a zone for your child (or children) during school time and then the space that you utilize outside of working/school hours. Of course, this is going to be dependent on the age of your children and the amount of available space but even if you’re both working at the kitchen table, you can still set up some consistency. Decide who sits in what spot and keep it consistent when possible. Once the workday is over put away the computer (if possible) to set the boundaries that this is now after work hours.
Between work meetings and school classes it’s important for both you and your child to have as little disruption as possible. Investing in a pair of headphones for everyone in the family can help keep noise to a minimum. You can also minimize disruption by becoming familiar with all of the programs that your child is using so that logging in and out is easy. Also, write down passwords for the kids and tape it to device so that they are able to get into their programs without a problem.
Resources and Support System
Remind yourself that many people are going through a similar situation and that everyone is currently looking for support. It’s important to not only you and your child but also to others in your life to create a support system. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to consider a part-time tutor. Additionally, you can create a learning pod with kids in the same class. Stay close to your child’s teacher and use them as a resource and make sure that you’re communicating with your boss on your availability.
In order to stay organized one of the most important things to prioritize is updating your calendar. Pre-plan the day around your schedule and block time on your calendar for lunch and the specific times you need to assist your kids with classes and calls. Sure, things will come up that you can’t plan ahead for but this will help create a structure for your day. And don’t forget to take breaks throughout the day as well. Afternoon yoga or even just a quick stretch can help you be more productive.
Okay, so maybe bribing kids to get their work done isn’t exactly the way to go but you can always offer incentives. If they get through their morning assignments offer for them to have lunch outside or go for a 15 minute walk. These are things that your child can look forward to and that are healthy for both of you. And don’t forget to reward yourself! It’s important to have things to look forward to amidst a crazy work and school schedule.
We’ve all heard the phrase “unprecedented times” probably hundreds of times these last few months but it’s true. Don’t forget that we’re all figuring this out as we go. Finding a smooth way to work from home while your kids are also going to school virtually from home is a balancing act that may take some trial and error. Set time on your calendar to remind yourself to re-evaluate what is and isn’t going well every few weeks and go from there. And don’t forget to give yourself grace!
About the Author: Joining Yoh in 2019, Stephanie Mannon is a 17 year staffing industry veteran with experience across multiple verticals that include engineering, IT, professional, and healthcare.As Director of Strategic Accounts, Stephanie is responsible for driving the growth within the Strategic Accounts line of business by selling large scale staffing solutions into MSP’s and self-managed program sponsors.