Whether it is just a sick child or pandemic that suddenly finds you, your kids and your spouse all trying to work in the same space, or it’s a personal decision to change to a work from home setting, how you handle the first days and weeks makes all the difference.
The work from home concept may be new to some but then, the quarantine was implemented. While your kids might be thinking about VACATION, your boss has a mountain of work you need to do…YIKES! Daycare is closed, kids’ activities are canceled, the weather sucks, there’s no toilet paper, and tensions are getting high. What can you do?
5 Tips to Balance Work from Home and Homeschool:
- First, acknowledge the situation in terms your children will understand
- Their behavior will be different, especially because of the change – it’s their way of handling the unknown and uncertainty and need extra attention
- Talk about the impact and what needs to be done and why
- They are scared and uncertain with all the change
- Let them see you in control and assuring them that this change is to make sure everyone is safe.
- Encourage your children’s participation in the solution and ask what would be helpful for them
- Have your kids create their own “stop” sign on your door or back of your laptop and switch daily. They’ll be thrilled that their design has the power that day.
- Give them the choice of what is the signal for ‘break time.”
- Have them participate in dinner plans. One idea is to choose a color for dinner and have the kids decide on the dishes to prepare in that color with all the food groups represented. (My favorite is orange).
- List the snacks available on the fridge and rules about clean up.
- Recognize that school at school is much different than school at home
- They’re missing the social interaction even more than you (teens especially) so utilize specified internet time to communicate with their friends.
- Schedules will be different – forget the idea they will be chained to the kitchen table from 8:30 – 3:00.
- Use the change in the schoolhouse to be fun, and a different schedule than at school.
- Establish an all-clear signal – play a fun dance tune loudly when you’re off the phone and ready for a break and CELEBRATE.
- Use your breaks for PE – walks with the dog, yoga videos on YouTube, touch football in the park for example.
- Your rules will be different than their teachers. Discuss this and establish them upfront including consequences for breaking them.
- The work they have is very different (lots of boring worksheets and no interaction). Don’t expect them to be excited about them or that they will be busy from 8:30 -3. At most, they will have a few hours of work to do.
- Do your heavy thinking work before or after the kids get up. Depending on your kids’ ages, your think time will vary widely, so plan for it.
- Tag team throughout the day with your spouse. One of you can be monitoring the kids with their laptops doing email and more available while the other is in meetings and vice versa. Caveat: Whoever is in charge of the kids, handles the kids’ issues. Moms…don’t interject!
- Make sure you focus on the relationship, not just the tasks
- Parent/child relationships are different than teacher/child relationships. Your teacher has a very short time with them but you, as a parent have a lifetime relationship to nurture. This situation is temporary. Your relationship with your child is forever.
- In other words, “Never sacrifice your relationship for a worksheet.”
The Key to Success
A very successful homeschooling entrepreneur mom and dad told me that when they have pressing work from home deadlines and need to have the kids’ cooperation, they start the week with a family meeting to explain the situation. In the early childhood years, they explained needed their cooperation because their work gave them money to buy food, keep warm and drive their cars, and that was the parent’s responsibility. The kids’ responsibility was to respect their work time. So they established a schedule of when dad or mom would be available for them and rules about interruptions. Their kids felt really empowered and offered suggestions about how they could help.
This couple also admitted that the times they had the most interruptions on their video calls and poor behavior from their kids were when they hadn’t had this family meeting time to set expectations.
Always remember these 5 things to be successful in your work from home and home school during the lockdown:
- Acknowledge the situation
- Discuss what your expectations are and why
- Encourage their participation in the solution
- Set a schedule, but don’t try to make it “just like school” – it isn’t
- Make sure the relationship comes before the homework
Set yourself up for success! Get my insight and content designed to empower you in your faith, family, and career delivered to your inbox. Just click here: KarenMPierce.com