I was checking my phone after my shift at the hospital yesterday and saw over 50 messages in the mum's group for my children's class. Oh, dear! It occurred to me that there was an announcement by the Prime minister earlier in the night. I needed to know what the news was. Well, I found out that we were going into lockdown and the schools were going to be shut. This would be another period of homeschooling.
I know what it is like to work from home and have children at home being homeschooled. There is a tendency to be distracted and sometimes there is a possibility to be stressed. We are faced with uncertainty. We are spending long periods with our loved ones or housemates and it can be quite uncomfortable sometimes. However, it does not have to be that way.
There are some things that you can do to make this period and opportunity to build the relationship you have with yourself and others. Use this period to build the resilience you and your children have. It is time for them to learn life skills.
The practices that you can incorporate into your home-work and home-school life include:
Speak to your children about the fun things that they would like to do and if you would, make a list. Also, decide on what meals they would like to have. This is to get them involved in the decision-making process. You can also decide on workspaces and resources needed.
2. Get up early and get ready like you are going to out
There is a tendency when working from home to sleep late, get up late, and be more laid back. While it might not be necessary to wear your suit at home, it is important to have your mind and body realise that you have a purpose for the day. This will help you get work done when it needs to be done and relax at the time you would want to do that too.
3. Have regular breaks
This is my favourite idea of making homeschooling and working from home productive and fun. I use the Pomodoro and I set it in alignment with my children as they do their tasks. When we have 25 mins to focus on our work, we all do. This is followed by a 5 mins break during which we perform one of the fun activities that we spoke about the day before. During the breaks, ensure that you hydrate and move.
4. Get them involved in meal prep
Since you are home, you do not have a school dinner lady with you. This is an opportunity for you to cook with your children or give age-appropriate meal preparation tasks. This is also another time to bond and possibly have a meal together.
5. Don't sweat the small stuff
I remember the book by Richard Carlson titled 'Don't sweat the small stuff'. This is followed by 'It's all small stuff'. Having that at the back of your mind, if you have a to-do list that you have not completed or some activity that you have not completed, don't let that get you down. It is important that you take care of your mental health and that of your children.
6. Ask for help
Some schools have arranged for easy access to teachers. Make use of this. If however, you are struggling to get the online materials to work or the instruction is not clear and you don't have the teacher running a zoom session, contact the school or other parents for support. Don't forget, you are not in this alone.
7. Arrange remote group sessions
This could be a group learning or group playing session for the children and their peers. Provide this with all the internet safety measures in place to support your children as they interact with their peers.
8. Celebrate yourself
This is so important. Make sure that you celebrate yourself and your children for the efforts made not just the achievements.
We are in this together. Share this with someone who would benefit.
Take care and stay safe.