This year, kids have swapped cafeterias for kitchen tables, classrooms for virtual lessons, and summer camps for backyards. The typical workday for parents has also been turned upside down, as kitchen tables have transformed into “offices”.
With many schools expecting the school year to kick-off from home at least for the first couple of months, parents are yet again being tasked with juggling their full-time job with full-time childcare.
Finding the right balance at home while simultaneously playing the roles of parent, teacher and employee is difficult. Not only are you trying to manage your own workload, you’re also trying to find new and exciting ways to keep your kids entertained and their spirits high.
This is no easy task. But here are some helpful tips to find the right balance.
- Create structure:
Establish a written schedule that replicates that of a normal school day. If your children are old enough, involve them in its creation so they feel part of the process. Make it fun, too. Why not use colorful sticky notes to bring it to life and have options for your kids to choose from for different activities. Is 11 AM going to be sports or video games? Reading or math?
- Designate an area for your ”home office”:
Let children know when you’re working and when you will be taking breaks. Close a door, if possible, or put up a sign to let them know that you’re on a conference call. Include your schedule alongside theirs, so they can see when you’re unavailable.
- Be transparent:
Set expectations with co-workers so they understand your situation and aren’t surprised when they see kids pop up on the screen or hear them in the background. Be mindful of putting yourself on mute to limit background noise as much as possible.
- Flex your start and end times:
Depending on when your children wake up, set your alarm a little earlier to get a head start on your working day. Or speak to your manager about adjusting your schedule if that will be easier.
- Divide and Conquer:
If there is another working adult in the house try to alternate shifts to allow for focused time.
Following this advice should help make your working from home environment more suitable for both you and your children. But the work day is long. So although you have a structure in place, how do you keep them engaged?
At the start, it’s easy to have all of these creative days planned, but as times goes on your ideas run out. Take advantage of free online learning options for kids — there is a ton on the Internet to choose from.
It’s important for kids to continue learning even during the summer. Truist’s strategic partner EVERFI opened up their full K-12 learning library to students nationwide for a limited time, including Truist Financial Foundations.
Within the library, students have access to more than 20 digital courses on critical topics ranging from financial education, mental wellness, and early literacy. As a digital resource, parents and educators can use these online lessons within their remote learning plans for students.
Why not search for fun family activities online too? Here's a comprehensive list of some great virtual tours, zoo cams, and STEM activities — and it's all free!