Routine and Schedules are Essential
Our body works on an internal clock. Sleep, hunger, restoration, hormones….all rely on this natural pattern.
- Unfortunately, we have the ability to mess up that pattern-and rather quickly! You can control this if you maintain your daily routine and stick to a regular schedule.
- Routines should consist of:
-Sleep patterns (go to bed and get up at the same time every day)
-Morning rituals and hygiene routines
-Eating/meals-again aim for some consistent timing if possible.
-Exercise around the same time each day or enjoy bouts throughout the day when possible.
-Evening rituals: want a better night’s sleep? Wind down for bed the same way each night.
Establish a Work Space
- Choose a space quiet enough to concentrate
- Comfortable enough for your child to want to spend time in the space.
- Organized: it might not stay organized during school hours, but everything should have a place at the end of the day. The key is to reduce stress by making items easy to find, utilize and store.
- Let your child help create a space that works for him/her.
Should the workspace be near other adults or children in the house?
It depends on the age, needs, and effectiveness of the space. Some children work better when others are nearby for support; others need more privacy to concentrate.
Working at home with younger children or children who need or enjoy nearby support?
Add a desk next to yours. Establish rules and boundaries (ex. no noise when mom is on the phone)
Having a small desk next to yours is also a great tool for parents working at home with a toddler or preschooler. Load the desk with mock items you use (a phone, a computer with headphones, paper, crayons, etc.). Allow your child to use this space, as long as your work is not affected.
First Things, First
- Make sure you and your children. maintain that routine and stick to a schedule. To ensure the schedule is as effective as possible, start the day as you would if school was in session.
- Eat a healthy breakfast.
- Brush your teeth and manage morning hygiene.
- Pick a consistent start time that signals “ready-to-go” even if you have a flexible schedule. Again this is essential for supporting your mindset and routine. (A few minutes early helps students and remote workers feel prepared from the getgo -otherwise the day will get ahead of you.
- Tip: consider starting the day with an energizing exercise, dance routine or stretch as long as “work” follows.
- Tip: Do not skip getting dressed. While working in PJs seems like a plus, it doesn’t promote a “working mentality” and derails that valuable routine. You can, however, use a “cozy clothes day” as a reward.
Watch For Signs Of Struggling
- It’s likely to continue to remain rough for awhile. Habits take up to three weeks to form, and that’s if they remain consistent and we put the energy toward developing them. Remind your children that as long as they stick to a routine and put forth that daily effort, it should get easier.
- Be sure your child isn’t allowing manageable struggles or excuses to interfere with getting the job done. See below for tips on how to differentiate excuses vs. problems that need to be addressed.
- Do trust what you know about your child. Pay attention to signs of real struggles (not understanding the curriculum, acting out, withdrawing, or any signs that show your child is truly having a hard time). Work together, along with your child’s teacher and/or social worker, for solutions.
Make a List of Questions for Teachers
- Older children should be able to do this on their own. If they’re skipping this step, find out why, and find a solution. Younger children may need help with the list. Help your child determine if they should reach out to the teacher for support immediately, or if it can wait for class time or office hours.
Is Your Child Struggling to Grasp Online Material?
- Look for online tutorials that break the learning into digestible pieces. Often these tutorials are specifically designed to help students learn remotely. Search a few clips until you find one that supports your child best. We used this tool often when any of my children struggled with complicated math problems. Seeing a problem broken down in digestible pieces helped my kids gain the necessary skills to understand the full lesson.
- Tip: Share helpful links with teachers, other parents, and classmates. Encourage them to find and share supportive links.
Encourage Short Breaks, But Use the Time Appropriately
- Tip #1: Never choose anything that your child will find it difficult to walk away from. No television, video games, social media, etc.
- Tip #2: Appropriate use of time includes daydreaming, resting, even a nap as long as it’s no longer than 30 minutes. Other healthy alternatives: listening to music, breathing deeply, walking stretching, exercising, having a healthy snack or lunch, chatting with a friend, or enjoying a moment with family.
End The School Day, Prepare For the Next
- Habit #1: Check that all assignments are complete and turned in.
- Habit #2: Create a to-do-list or use your child’s classroom agenda; include questions for the teacher.
- Habit #3: Organize the space.
Learning With Friends
- Remember our children are typically in school—together.
- Set aside time for your child to work with classmates: asking questions and working on assignments together (when appropriate) can be very supportive.
- And yes, allow time to just chat, as long as the work is getting done.
Encourage Healthy Downtime After “School Hours”
- Downtime is essential for everybody.
- Tip: Parents- try to closely maintain the same rules you had when school was in session, including limiting screen time, completing chores, and other responsibilities. Do leave time too let your child rest mind and body.
Don’t Forget: Stick To Your Schedule
- Back to the value of the daily routine. If you want to stay as healthy as possible while “sequestered” keep your bedtime regime, no late nights! That’s good advice for parents as well.