Due to the COVID-19 crisis closing schools around the country, many parents are suddenly faced with the challenge of teaching children at home. Whether you are navigating temporary homeschool or distance learning as a parent, managing the requirements can be confusing and stressful. However, parents and children can adjust to distance learning – with planning, practice, and patience.
Here are 7 tips for managing distance learning as a parent:
1. Stick to a routine
There’s a good reason why classrooms have a designated time for reading, math, art, and recess – most children thrive on routine. While it would be unrealistic to imitate your child’s physical classroom schedule, it is important to set up a “new normal”. Do your best to have your child wake up at the same time during the week and end distance learning around the same time every day.
2. Create a designated learning space
While you don’t need to create an entire homeschooling classroom, it is important to find a quiet space for children to work on schoolwork. Designate a space as “the learning zone” and keep toys and distractions away as much as possible.
3. Make time for breaks
Make sure your routine includes time for children to be active. If possible, let children spend “recess” time outside and burn off excess energy. Not only is recess time great for their physical health, but they will have an easier time focusing on schoolwork.
4. Be patient
These are unprecedented times for everyone. Allow time for children and teachers to adjust to a new learning format. Be patient with children, teachers, and most importantly – yourself. It’s easy to hold yourself to unrealistic expectations. Be kind to yourself, and know that you are doing enough.
5. Communicate with teachers
Reach out to teachers via their preferred method of communication (usually email) about distance learning expectations. Ask for clarification on requirements. If you find that something isn’t working for your family, express your concerns. Teachers and school districts are usually very receptive to parent feedback during this time. Some of the daunting homeschool requirements may actually be flexible. Overall, teachers want to make sure your child’s needs are met during distance learning.
6. Ask for help
If you find yourself needing more resources to manage distance learning, don’t hesitate to reach out to your school district, teachers, family, or au pair. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help deciphering geometry homework or navigating online classroom technology.
7. Practice self-care
This is a stressful time for everyone, especially parents who are faced with the challenge of managing distance learning. On top of suddenly finding themselves navigating homeschool requirements, many parents are also struggling to work from home with children. It’s important to take time for yourself to unwind. Whether it means waking up a little earlier or going for an afternoon walk by yourself, find a little bit of time away from work and parenting to focus on yourself and your needs.
The bottom line is this – parenting is never easy, but it is especially difficult during this global crisis. Parents, teachers, school districts, and children were not prepared to tackle distance learning during a pandemic. It’s normal to feel stressed and anxious during these uncertain times. When you tackle distance learning or homeschool requirements as a parent, be kind to yourself. We are all doing the best we can while adjusting to this new normal.
Are you looking for tips on how to stay positive during COVID-19? Here are 10 mantras to live by – from an au pair!