It’s one thing to have your home become your office, but when it’s a school as well? That’s a lot to juggle! The days of watching over the baby bassinet next to your desk are gone and in their place is non-stop energy, lots of hugs, and constantly hungry bellies.
Many parents face the reality of homeschooling and working from home either by choice or because their child is doing distance learning for a while and we’re happy to say that while it’s challenging, it is completely doable. While it can take some time for both you and your child to adjust to a new routine of constantly being together, ultimately it can bring you closer.
Here are some helpful tips for managing your remote job and homeschooling at the same time.
Luckily, homeschooling doesn’t require the same amount of time that regular school does, so you will be able to fit both school and work into the same day. That said, it really helps to schedule separate time for both, for example, school in the mornings while your kids are fresh and work and playtime in the afternoons. This way, one doesn’t end up taking over the time of the other.
Create a calendar that everyone in your family can see that clearly outlines work time, school time, play time, and outside activities. This will not only set expectations, but help you stay organized so that you don’t forget appointments and playdates.
Spending all day, everyday at home can make the days feel like they are blurring together. When you start to get complacent and stop doing things like getting dressed in the morning or eating a healthy breakfast, it’s a slippery slope until you no longer have the motivation to handle all that is on your plate. It’s important for your mental health and your child’s wellbeing to stick to routines and put in the effort each morning as if you were going into the office or school. Get dressed, go for a walk, and enjoy breakfast together before getting into the day’s tasks.
There are times when the dog is going to suddenly start barking at the mailman or someone calls you with a burning question that needs to be answered. Distractions pop up all the time and threaten to derail your day, which is why you can’t let them. You’ve got too much on the ball to lose an hour or two to something that’s not important. Simply acknowledge the source of the distraction if it needs to be acknowledged and move on with your work or teaching. Kids will take any distraction they can to get away from having to do schoolwork, so be sure to encourage their focus after an interruption.
As soon as you can, it helps to teach your children to seek out activities independently so that while you do work, they can entertain themselves. For example, they can have free time while you’re on a Zoom call to watch an educational tv program, have quiet reading time, or craft time. Make sure to set boundaries so that they know only to disturb you if it’s an emergency. Alternatively, they can write notes and slip them under the door rather than knocking loudly if they have a question for you.
Without a doubt, there will be days when nothing goes to plan and neither work nor school are productive. That’s ok! Let these days come and go without being hard on yourself — they happen to everyone. You’re doing a lot and not everything can go perfectly all the time. When you feel you and your kids need a break, take it and just relax together. Just make sure that you and your boss have clear expectations on your work so that if you need to turn something in slightly late, they are understanding.