With HISD and other school districts opting for online learning for the fall semester has once again put parents who work from home to be a caretaker, teacher, and employee all at the same time. Ending the school year online was difficult, but beginning the school year online is another story. School districts are working diligently to provide the best education for your children without any additional cost to the parents. Remember to check in with your school for online digital resources they may offer. If you experienced any difficulties from transitioning online in March, here are some tips to help you and your kid(s) stay sane in the fall.
Has your kid run into your room yelling about having no toilet paper in the middle of a conference call? Have your kids starting fighting at the kitchen table while you’re giving a presentation? It’s time to establish boundaries. Depending on their age, your kid is not going to learn boundaries unless you sit down and communicate with them. Come up with a system that lets your kid(s) know when you cannot be disturbed or when they can come visit you. Whether that is through signs on your door, a family group text, or an announcement in the morning, doing this will allow you to have peace and quiet while you’re working.
Continue Your Daily Routine
Studies have shown that acting like you’re going to the office helps you be more productive when working from home, and the same concept applies to your child. Both of you need to stick to your routine to get your body and mind to prepare to work. Sticking to your routine also gives a semblance of normalcy during this time. In addition, establish an afternoon routine to ensure that homework gets done in a timely and productive manner. Maybe after school your kid gets a 30-45 minute break before they start their homework. Utilize the Pomodoro technique to give your kid a brain break while doing their homework. Brain breaks are also good for you, as well! Implementing healthy work habits when they’re young will provide a foundation for their work ethic in the future.
Check in With Their Teachers
Keep your kids accountable for their assignments by checking in with their teachers at least once a week. Your school district may already be requiring teachers to send their weekly homework and assignments to parents, but take initiative to start a dialogue with the teacher. By doing this, you will be able to communicate your child’s best learning style and how you can help them understand assignments.
Determine Work Spaces
Creating separate spaces for work and play is imperative to your child’s productivity. Like adults, if there is a desk designated for working simply sitting in that spot will put them in a mindset for working. Doing homework in bed harms productivity as laying in bed signals to the brain that you are going to bed, not working. Ideally, your child’s work space should be separate from their bedroom, but if there is limited space or multiple kids in your home this may be difficult to do. If they can only work in their bedroom, section off an area for work, play time, and sleep.
Block Social Media Sites and Take Away Phones
Kids are finding multiple ways to goof off instead of paying attention. There are many Chrome extensions that block websites during a specific time. Impulse control is not something that kids excel in, so create parameters for them. Doing this will also cultivate a strong work ethic. Additionally, take away their phones except during break time to promote focused learning. No matter what you do, your kid may still find a way to be distracted during class, but putting roadblocks in social media or game usage will make it harder for them to goof off. Make it so hard that it’s not worth the time and effort so that they will pay attention. However, ensure that your child knows why you are doing this: to make the most out of their education. They may not understand this now and may think you’re an overbearing parent, but the lessons you are teaching them now will benefit them in the long run.
Have Lunch With Your Kid(s), If Possible
Even though we are home with our kids almost 24/7, there is a difference between being together and bonding together. Make having lunch together special and fun so that it’s not another mundane interaction. Maybe play card games, like Uno, during your lunch break with them to blow off steam. We spend so much time with our family and rarely see anyone, so show that you are a source of fun, information, and love. You and your kid will be much happier.
Being a working parent is hard, but adding on teacher to that title makes it even harder. These suggestions will help you balance all of those titles while giving your child the best learning environment. Everyone makes mistakes, so don’t beat yourself up if things are rocky at the beginning. Trial and error is the best way to find the perfect space for learning and a peaceful home. Which tip are you going to integrate into your life?
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