Written by: Mary Smith & Henry Smith
With several K-12 schools switching to online learning due to COVID-19, working-from-home parents are left with an even greater responsibility for their children. With parents working from home and having to focus on their children’s education, life can get disorganized, chaotic, and negative very quickly. Your partners at IA Business Advisors want to help you keep your home life positive so you can get your work done while ensuring your children receive the knowledge they need this semester. We have compiled a list of tips for parents to help maintain a healthy relationship and learning environment while they work from home alongside their children e-learning.
Tip #1 Set A Schedule & Start Time Blocking
One of the best ways you can keep your child’s/children’s minds and bodies active is by having a consistent weekday schedule. Parents can keep themselves and their kids on track by creating a schedule that fits around the children’s online school schedule and the parents’ work schedules. Time blocking is a great way to get everyone on the same page, especially if you write it out on a calendar for everyone to see visibly. It may take some trial and error, but once you find something that works, stick with it and work as a team to make it a habit. Developing a habit of scheduling and time blocking will help parents and children work together more cohesively.
A great way to time block your schedules together is to compare your children’s e-learning schedule to your own and ask yourself what you can move around to accommodate their learning. Some questions you can ask yourself to help with this process are: Is there anything you can do together? Are there times during the day when they will be occupied for a block of time where you can get your work done uninterrupted? If schedules permit, we recommend taking breaks and eating lunch together. The more similar your workday schedule can be to your children’s e-learning schedule, the easier it will be work under the same roof. Remember to have patience for yourself, your children, and the process. It won’t be perfect the first time, it may take some time to get into a routine, and there will be days that are exceptions, but time blocking your schedules is a great first step to get on the same page.
Tip #2 Provide the Environment & Materials for Learning
Unfortunately, this can be more difficult than it sounds. Your child’s activity level and learning ability can be directly affected by their environment. If they are locked in their bedroom, uncomfortable due to poor ergonomics, or being distracted by sounds, these can inhibit their overall performance. Making sure that your child can work in an optimal environment while being able to check on them is a great way to help ensure a productive day. You might even consider playing some binaural beats for everyone to listen to. Choose a track that promotes focus and productivity!
You will also need to ensure that your child has all the materials to do their work. This is extremely important, as we are sure it would be difficult to do your job without the proper materials. Think of e-learning as your child’s job. As their leader, you need to set them up for success! Whether its pens and paper, or Wi-Fi and a computer, you are responsible for providing these materials. We recommend ensuring your child has their own set of headphones, as well. This way they can listen to their classes without interrupting the rest of the house. In fact, each family member working from home should have their own set as to not disturb others in the household.
Tip #3 Don’t Replace Their Teacher
There is a very big difference between teaching your child and helping them with their work. Oftentimes, children will need help with their assignments, and it is perfectly okay to assist. However, once you go from helping to teaching, your child may become frustrated. As a parent, you already control so much of their daily lives that sometimes teaching them comes off as a chore rather than an opportunity to learn. Take our advice and leave the teaching up to the teachers! That’s why they are in e-learning. Let go of the reins and sit along side them as both of you work, offering guidance as they request.
Tip #4 Setting Boundaries
Setting boundaries with students is something that teachers learn very well while in school, but for parents it’s harder to recognize when it’s necessary to create these same boundaries. There is already stress on everyone, including the child, to learn the material and understand the assignments in a brand-new format. Adding to that stress by not having appropriate boundaries is unproductive. If your child is having a hard time learning, try not to get frustrated. Simply ask yourself these questions: What don’t they understand? How can I help them grasp this concept? If I can’t help them, can their teacher help them? How can I assure my child that we will figure this out together and find a solution?
While working at home with children e-learning is certainly a feat that you should be proud of yourself for conquering (as no parents in the history of time have had to conquer), it is still extremely important to provide your child the best experience and environment they can have during this semester. At times, it might feel overwhelming. Lean on your coworkers and team for help, keep time blocking with your family so everyone stays on the same page, and set some boundaries to make sure you get enough YOU time. Your partners at IA Business Advisors just want to say that you’re a rock star and we are here to help you should you need it! Just contact us.