Working from home while children attend virtual is not ideal for everyone and impossible for some. I know that part of what helps children cope with change and navigate difficult situations is to provide them with a predictable routine. In the case of virtual school, part of that involves ensuring we are trying to find spaces for them to move their bodies, calm their minds, breathe fresh air and… still get our own work done. There is no perfect, there’s only less then ideal.
Clear Roles and Boundaries
Another really important element is establishing school/work time versus family/play/fun time. In a child’s mind home is not school, home is where they relax, connect with the parents, play games etc. To help make this transition easier to manage, set clear guidelines by establishing “learning time” versus “home time.” Within that, build out an understanding of the roles of student for them and role of employee/employer for you. This helps children understand that during the day it’s not that you don’t want to spend time with them, it’s that you have a responsibility to be doing something else, as do they. For more on this check out my Instagram videos on pandemic parenting and blog on Working from Home with Younger Children.
Brainstorm for Success
Brainstorming with your kids is a key part of making this work. When you make it fun and put the ideas on display it helps them keep accountable and check-lists keep them on-task.
Let’s Get Their Bodies Moving!
When kids attend school they have multiple opportunities for activity, including recess and lunch time. There’s often also an added bit of exercise getting to and from school. In shifting to school at home, that eliminates most (maybe all) of the activity kids were doing. We need to get really intentional about ensuring kids are moving their bodies wherever possible and trying to get them outside when we can.
“I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! I’M BORED!”
Another really challenging element to navigate is screen time and the need for time fillers (aka the adult needs to work!) One way to manage this piece it to put together a list of screen-free activities that kids can do. Again, get them in on the brainstorming and see ideas you can come up with. The goal is to make sure the activities are ones they can do independently.
Now when they come to you with… “I’m BORED!” or “I don’t know what to do” or “Will you play with me?” you can re-direct them to the list and reinforce when you might have time to connect with them.
Finally, this is a key element in helping kids navigate with some level of independence and accountability. Developing Visual Check Lists can help guide kids through the day and ensure they are doing things to support their physical and mental well-being, in addition to the their school responsibilities. It can be really useful to break out the day in manageable chunks for greater success.
One of the guidelines in my home is that you must complete all your check-list items before you can switch to entertainment based tech.
Here’s an example to get you thinking about a framework:
Through the pandemic I have been supporting families with different needs to help them develop action plans that best suit their goals. I’d be happy to jump on a troubleshooting call if you need some additional support with implementing some strategies in your home. Book a call now
Take a deep breath! This life we are living isn’t easy! Be sure to join the RRC Parent Community on Facebook to connect with other parents.