If juggling all your life balls was a hot mess pre-COVID-19, we can understand if you are overwhelmed and fraying at the ends as more is demanded of you now as a parent.
Balancing the demands of work and home has gotten more complicated. Not only has the indefinite closure of schools thrust parents into the full-time role of ‘educator’ but when that will change is still unknown. Like it or not, co-mingling our remote work-life and our children’s school life is becoming the ‘new norm’. And if we are honest, we have no choice but to rise to the occasion. For our families. And for ourselves. So how do you deal with the added time management challenges and become more proficient at accommodating your children’s remote learning all while working from home?
Here are a few hacks that have worked for me in finding work-life balance and keeping everyone happy and on track. Although simple, they establish a structure that everyone had the opportunity to participate in creating and to own.
Apply these four strategies in the coming school year to help you rise to the occasion and deliver parental support that will make even the dreaded homework time easier while creating a more harmonious home for all.
1: Provide a quiet place to study:
Be creative in creating this space. Make sure it is free from distractions like, TV, video games or even other family members that may be involved in other non-homework activities. Ensure that you have all the required school supplies handy to avoid any wasted time. Consider having an area or container that stores all the pens, markers, paper and crayons they need as well as ample chargers to power up electronics.
2: Create a Homework Routine:
Become well versed on your kid’s activities, virtual or otherwise, including subjects for the school year. Pair this with a good understanding of your time commitment for work. Do you have a deadline coming up? Do you have to be involved in an unusual amount of virtual calls? Make sure you are clear, on a weekly basis, about what is ahead so you can make any time amendments and enlist adult supervision as needed. Post schedules in a visible area and consider sharing the schedule on the family chat to ensure it is also accessible electronically. Communicate these routines to your children and be very clear about the expectations required of them. When you adopt a weekly review and update system it is easy to make timely amendments to improve your homework system.
3: Teach your kids time management skills:
I have always worked with my kids to help them come up with the best ways to manage their time and be more productive. This is a skill that will set them up to succeed in life. Together we created a school planner that included studying and homework. Make sure that any major projects and deadlines are incorporated. We use the school schedule as a guide, making sure to add extra time for any unusually challenging subject. This system works and helps parents that are already overwhelmed trying to do it all while working from home.
4: Demonstrate that parental support of homework is a priority:
Be present with the children during their homework but make it clear to them that you will not do their homework. You are merely a facilitator and supervisor. Avoid the urge to ‘help’ them to get the homework ‘over with’. If your child is young and having an issue, then send the teacher a note advising them of the area that your child struggled with. For older children, advise them to communicate directly with the teacher. It is their education, so allow them to participate and own it. Navigating this ‘newnorm’ takes intentionality and strategy. Homework time will always be the one thing that parents cringe at managing after a long and exhausting day at work, dinner to prepare, and pets to take care of.
These hacks will help parents develop a less-hurried and proactive approach to homework to successfully navigate the remote routines and achieve a better work-life balance. BPM