Resources for Parents Who Now Moonlight as Teachers
Parents everywhere have a new normal: striving to balance work and home life with kids and distance learning. We’ve put together a few helpful resources to make the world’s most important job easier.
Don’t Stress the Old Schedule
Create a schedule for your work and school days, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to stick to it. For example, a timeline might offer structure and guidance for everyone, but don’t worry about deviating from it if it means you’ll get your own work done and everyone stays stress-free. If you’re relaxed rather than anxious about getting it all done at a specific time, you may find that both you and the kids are more productive. The best schedule is one that is forgiving and flexible. Make sure you build in plenty of independent learning and play time for kids, and reliable break times for parents.
Allow Your Kids to Be Kids
The situation created by COVID-19 is new for everyone, so if you're feeling anxious or uncertain, your kids probably are, too. It’s important to remember that they also miss their friends and regular activity, even if they’re acting like all the extra “screen time” is amazing. Giving them space to learn as they need to can relieve you of the responsibility of forcing them into a mold they won't and shouldn’t fit in.
Build Wellness Breaks into the Day
Make time for both yourself and your relationships with your spouse or child, and don’t feel guilty about taking as many breaks as you need to be nourished both mentally and physically. Go outside when possible, take walks around the neighborhood, read a book, call a friend, draw a hot bath. Give both the kids and you time for any stress built up to dissipate, and then try again at homeschooling.
Fuel Your Bodies with Healthy Food
In stressful circumstances like this, it’s all too easy to let a healthy diet fall to the wayside. If you’ve found yourself snacking or indulging more than normal, don’t beat yourself up about it. Simply try adjusting your diet to your “new normal” by starting small. Swap chips for veggies in one meal. Pick a healthy recipe to cook together. Choose foods that make you feel good as often as you can. A brain foggy on sugar and processed carbs won't be able to focus as well on school or work as one nourished by whole foods and nutritious snacks. And don’t forget to drink water – staying hydrated can stave off hunger, headaches and muscle pain.
Focus on the Positive
As each new challenge presents itself, choosing to focus on the positive will literally remove most of the stress from each situation. Talk about what’s good right now, even if the news is negative. Remind each other of what you’re looking forward to later this year, when times are calmer and the outlook is brighter. Look for the silver lining in being stuck at home together: sure, you might feel like you’re all driving each other crazy, but being able to spend more time with your kids allows you to see their strengths in a way you would normally miss when they’re in school.
It’s hard not to look at what other families and parents are doing and compare, especially with our interactions now largely falling to social media. But don’t feel like you need to “keep up” with those parents; do what’s best for your family.
For more helpful information in staying safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis—such as managing stress or properly disinfecting your home—click here.