The current global pandemic has forced many families into the unfamiliar world of being teacher to their children.
Without preparation or guidance and virtually overnight, this new role was thrust upon families the world over.
As if that wasn’t enough, we have been expected to garner this new role while embracing another challenge of having to perform our normal duties from the kitchen table.
With no immediate end to the coronavirus pandemic in sight, you might be wondering how to get through the day.
Tips to cope with working from home while home schooling
1 – Have a routine
This is my top tip, and is just as important whether you have younger children or older children. In fact us “adults” also benefit from routine.
If we are going to survive this for any long period of time, then we need to stick to a routine. This means setting the alarm clock, getting up, showered and ready to start for the same time every day.
We have a set breakfast each morning, including a nice strong coffee (for the adults only). I strongly suggest you invest in a decent automatic bean to cup coffee machine, we spill the beans reviews the best ones available.
Just as breakfast is a sort of subliminal trigger for the start of the school/work day. We also insist on changing into more relaxing clothes when we are finished, this is the signal the work day is over. Putting the school work and laptop away each day is just as essential.
Being able to easily define the start and finish of each working day and sticking to a schedule is the key to me not becoming overwhelmed and stressed by the whole thing.
2 – Define the space
Very few people are luckily enough to have a dedicated home office, and a spare room they can turn into a classroom. I certainly am not that lucky
Instead we are re-purposing other spaces, our kitchen table becomes our desk, the lounge a multimedia learning room, and the bedroom a zoom conference space.
And we share these spaces (well except the bedroom/conference room), so to stop the petty arguments from starting, we clearly divide the space up and each of us has a defined area to work from.
3 – Schedule your calls
We’ve all seen the social media clips of the children or pet interrupting a client or conference call. To minimize your chances of becoming the next viral hit, try and schedule you calls.
Planning calls, allows me to set the little ones up with a distraction, I generally use this time to set them up with some screen lesson or online quiz. I also make sure they have had a snack and been to the loo.
Ps, remember your colleagues and clients are also most likely working parents too and be understanding if interruptions happen.
4 – Don’t take it all too seriously
I think this is a real big one. All too often we get bombarded with social media posts from the “perfect” parent/teacher, well I am telling you now, they are no more perfect than we are.
Trying to ensure your child has the most enriching educational experience, whilst meeting your own deadlines, is the quickest way to a breakdown.
This is one of those situations where we do what we can, don’t try and be superhuman, and never beat yourself up if you let the little ones have too much screen-time.
5 – Make the most of it
While this is a strange and somewhat scary time, and a lot of the changes we face are for the worse. There are some benefits.
We are getting to spend much more time with our children than we would do normally. Enjoy it, have some fun with them.
Changing my outlook and seeing it as an opportunity to spend more time with the family, made a huge difference to my mental state.
6 – Pick Your Battles
This is an age old parenting tip, but it is extremely apt right now.
I am still trying to stick a vague outline of rules regarding snacks, chores and other normal rules. But I have relaxed these a lot, at the moment. It is certainly a case of me picking my battles.
It could also be classed as a little bit of bribery, there is nothing wrong with trading a snack for them completing a certain lesson.
7 – Make the most of the help available
If you are like me, then you are most likely as confused by the children’s lessons as they are. This is not a sign you are lacking academically, in fact it is perfectly normal.
I have a few teacher friends who are exactly the same, they have to revise before certain lessons to make sure they understand what they are teaching.
But luckily for us we live in a connected world, and online is all the help you need. Whether that be a parenting forum, lessons explained in a YouTube video or one of the hundreds on learning resources such as the school run.
I have found these to be a god send, and they certainly help with any self-doubts that creep in.
8 – Speak to your employer
Any decent manager will already know your personal circumstances. But just in case they are not, talk to them, let them know everything you are dealing with.
I had this conversation with my manager, and we agreed a more flexible routine for me. Now I can be more focused on the kids during the day and set myself a couple hours in the evening for the more important work.
I know it can be scary talking to your superior about needing some slack, but honestly I can almost guarantee they will be sympathetic. The weight off your shoulders is definitely worth it.
Combining all of the above into one thought, I have to say just relax. You have this, there really is no need to be getting stressed by it.
Get through each and every day as best you can, and certainly don’t try and be perfect. Nobody is ever perfect despite what they portray.