Support for parents taking on new roles as a result of social distancing measures.
Due to Covid-19 parents all over the world are being thrust into working from home and are now being asked to also manage their children’s remote learning. Maybe your job is demanding, your child struggles to take educational direction from you, or you have kids that span toddler years to high school. Feeling overwhelmed, under-qualified, pulled in a million different directions?
You aren’t alone. Parents, this is hard! What you are feeling is normal. Knowing the rest of the world is in the same boat might help for a minute, but here are some tips that might also help things go a little smoother.
Set a routine.
When you think about what helps your child to be successful at school one of the biggest factors is likely predictability. If your child knows what to expect they will feel less anxious and more in control of their emotions and behaviors. Set a fluid routine for the day that your child can follow along to. Make a color-coded chart with things like exercise, art, school work, sensory breaks and free time. Your schedule might have times allotted for each activity and others may work around you or your spouse’s work calls. Let your child have some say in the order. Giving them an opportunity to have a little control will help to reduce those power struggles.
Stick to a healthy sleep schedule.
Believe me when I say that this is one of the hardest tips to follow because I too have fallen victim to the trap of a poor sleep routine with my kids. This quarantine thing was all fun for a few days but after letting my kids stay up late and sleep in late, I quickly realized this was not going to work for us if we were going to get through this successfully. It may be tempting to let your child sleep late so you can get some work done in the morning but studies show that sticking to a healthy sleep routine will help kids manage their emotions and be more productive which is very important when at home learning is taking place.
Create opportunity to develop independence in your child.
How many of us have heard, “Can I have a snack” multiple times today? To help eliminate this in our house we have bins with the snacks that each child can have that day. Mix in healthy and sweet but allow your child a choice in what they choose and when. When the bin is gone, so is their snacking for the day. There are a lot of ways that your child is independent in their classroom. They know how to do things on their own, we as parents have to fight the urge to just do everything for them because its faster or easier. Set some boundaries with your child and when they are successful celebrate with them!
Connection is key.
When all else fails, connect with your child. Wait, this sounds like another thing on my to-do list instead of a tip! When you don’t know what to do and you are at your wits end, so is your child. They may show it differently (or maybe not!) but they are right there with you. Work calls, dishes, laundry, and even school work are not as important as connection. These times are hard and scary and our kids are human and feel it too. Take a minute or two and just hug them, rub their back, tell them you are proud of them and you understand how they feel. You just might be amazed at how smoothly things go after some connection with your child.