Back to school season is finally upon us and for many parents this time is unlike any other ever experienced before. The first day of school will not involve walking the kids to a bus stop. It doesn’t require any picking up or taking children home from school. Packing a non-perishable but awesome first-day-of-school lunch is so 2019 (or is it!?).
Now, the 2020-2021 School Year kick-off involves figuring out how to efficiently manage the work-from-home routine while ensuring that children gear up for the school year with excitement and a positive attitude. Instead of allocating time for commuting to and from extracurricular activities, those minutes will now be used towards figuring out ways to break up the school day in order to stimulate young minds away from the computer screen.
Although it’s been months since school has transitioned to virtual learning as a result of the pandemic, it’s still important to continuously evaluate our work-from-home routine. Staying productive while giving our kids the best back-to-school experience is possible – but is a dance that needs constant practice and adjustment.
Keeping up the back-to-school hype in a virtual world is unfamiliar territory – but it can be navigated. Here are some strategies that you can use to make things a little easier during this complex time.
1. Create Some Type of Schedule: When school was virtually in session months ago, did you create a schedule based off of your kid’s classes? Did that schedule become altered once summer commenced? Now is the perfect time to evaluate your previous schedule and build a new one that fits the new school day. Use the time while kids are in class to answer emails and complete projects. Try not to schedule important meetings when you know that there will be classroom breaks. This scheduling methodology will allot some flexibility for when children need attention and care.
2. Wake Up Early: You should become an early bird. When your kids are asleep in the morning, it’s worth considering waking up during the AM hours to complete important work-related tasks without any distractions. During the day, you can then focus your time on taking meetings, finishing up smaller tasks, and attentively looking after the kids.
3. Lunchtime as a Family: Spend some quality time with the kids while staying nourished by scheduling a set time daily to eat lunch as a family. You can still have fun back-to-school treats like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! You could even pack them in paper bags for everyone ahead of lunchtime to keep up the back-to-school spirit.
4. Be Transparent: Your colleagues are human. They too have unexpected things that they’re managing at home during the virtual work day. Thus, if there’s an urgent family matter that warrants your attention but you have a meeting scheduled, communicate your situation with your supervisor to find a solution.
5. Give Kids Some Independence: There will be moments during the day when you really can’t take a break. Instead of stressing about dueling priorities (work AND kids’ needs), understand that your kids can take life by the horns at times, especially if you’re all under the same roof. For example, do they need a snack when you’re on a client call? Make a list of snack items available in the pantry and post it on the fridge for your children to reference when hungry! Are they feeling too cold at home? Show them where all the blankets are and/or teach them how to properly and safely use the thermostat!
PLUS ONE MORE!
6. Space: Ensure that you create space for your student and space for yourself. Working side by side or in very close proximity to one another will only end up frustrating both of you, as you’ll be constantly pulled away by what you hear your child learning and your child may become overly dependent upon asking you for help, rather than the teacher or their peers.
Balancing work and creating excitement for the new school year is undoubtedly a challenging experience – but it can be done. With a little weekend pre-planning, organization, creativity and a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome some of the stress that’s been plaguing you during summer break.