Are you planning on homeschooling your children again this year? Maybe your district decided that distance learning was safer, or perhaps your little one has a health condition that makes you hesitate to send them in public. If they enjoyed their spring curriculum, your littles might have asked to continue.
As a working parent, you need to find a way to keep your little ones occupied so that you can bring home the bacon. How can you deal with kids at home during the school year? The following eight tips should help you find balance.
1. Create a Do-Not-Disturb Ritual
Your kids need to know not to interrupt your conference call with a vital client. If you have a home office, and they can read, a do-not-disturb sign can do the trick — if you have an open, loving conversation about what it means. Don’t assume your children understand why you sometimes need time unless you explain. They’re not wise to the ways of the adult world.
What if you have to work in the corner of the living room while your little one watches “Dora the Explorer?” Take a clue from teachers when it comes to shushing your little ones with respect and love. You can sound a unique chime or have them clap a rhythm that announces “it’s quiet time now.”
2. Enroll Them in Virtual School
As extensive as your knowledge is, there are some things you don’t know. Enrolling your child in a virtual school provides educational continuity and exposes them to new ways of looking at the world. You can find online, tuition-free public schools, so don’t stress it if your budget is on the tight side.
A typical homeschool schedule may start with a morning math lesson for your kiddos while you meet with your supervisor. Then, you can do P.E. together by tuning into a 15-minute yoga video on YouTube. You’ll alternate between independent work and short breaks — which benefits productivity for folks of all ages.
3. Give Them a Daily Schedule
Did you ever wake up without knowing what to tackle first? You probably felt adrift, and you know that a daily to-do list helps you keep on task. However, you have to teach your children this magic.
Sit down with your kids and go over a fall calendar. Write down celebrations such as birthdays and due dates for upcoming assignments. When it comes to schoolwork, assign an estimated time for each task. At day’s end, review each task and adjust the following day’s schedule as necessary.
4. Assign Household Chores
Remember when you had home economics class in high school? You can recreate this elective at home by having your kids help out with household chores. Make them age-appropriate — while a 6-year-old may struggle with a heavy vacuum cleaner, they can take a feather duster over furniture.
5. Eat Your Lunch Together
Another way to build valuable life skills when your children stay home during the school year is to involve them in food prep. Have them help you hard-boil eggs and portion out veggies and other healthy snacks to grab-and-go during the workday.
Use the midday break to catch up on your respective days. Your brain will benefit, too. Studies show taking a lunch break can prevent an afternoon energy slump.
6. Provide Ample Activities
If your child is adept, their homework assignments may not fill up the entire day. What can you do if they finish their tasks, but you have three hours to go? Coloring books can double as educational activities if you select the right varieties.
You can also find special computer programs and tablets — there’s even a “Baby Shark” model for the littlest learners — but you want to remain conscious of screen time. Provide ample books by visiting the library. Other ideas to extend learning include chemistry sets and windowsill gardens.
7. Take Virtual Field Trips
Maybe you can’t fly your kids to Paris, but you can still tour the Louvre from the comfort of your kitchen table. Museums aren’t the only fascinating “trips” you can take. Do a Google search for wildlife webcams — you might catch a glimpse of things like baby eagles hatching. Some aquariums, likewise, keep cameras on exhibits where you can watch sharks and dolphins folic.
8. Implement an End-of-Day Ritual
Parents and children alike benefit from an end-of-day ritual. Otherwise, it’s natural to let work bleed into family time, resulting in burnout. Kids aren’t immune to overwhelm.
Why not invent an imaginary bell that sounds at 4:00 pm. Stop, power down your work devices, and take a walk together. Alternatively, prepare dinner as a family and save the stroll for after your evening meal. You can also play a game — anything that tells your brain the workday is complete.
Here’s How to Deal With Your Kids at Home During the School Year
As a working parent, it’s challenging to have your kids at home while you telecommute. However, the tips above can help you deal with the situation during the coming 2020-21 school year.