If someone had told me last year that I would be home-schooling my kids while working from home, I would have rolled on the floor, laughing in complete disbelief. However, this has become my reality now and not just for me, but for many other moms and dads all over the world. We are all navigating through uncharted waters and it’s an incredibly stressful time. It is completely new territory for parents, teachers and most importantly our children!
At school, our children are used to lots of structure. They know exactly what to expect. However, as much as we try to maintain a strict routine daily, during lockdown the routine is lot more uncertain each day. There are no school bells or set timetables to assist with time management and it is difficult for kids to shift their mind-set and realise that school time is now at home.
It’s been quite a crazy few weeks for both my husband and I who are working from home and also teaching the kids. Alyssa is in grade 1 and receives online lessons and weekly work packs. Aidan is at pre-school and has online music and dance lessons as well as activity packs from his teacher.
Some days are quite chaotic, but we have learnt a few things that really help us stay calm and manage our days better. Here are some of the lessons we have learnt:
- Have a schedule of sorts
It can be tricky sometimes, but some days Kurt and I both have a few meetings at the same time as the kids lessons. What works for us is having a ‘family briefing’ every morning and explaining to the kids and each other what the day will look like. We also keep their snack times and lunchtimes the same time each day to make sure they are never hungry (read… hangry)!
- Connect with others
As the saying goes, we are all in this together! Even though we are not physically together, we are all going through a new normal. It helps to chat to your kids teachers and other parents who can be a strong source of guidance and comfort. Teachers also know our kids really well. They are well positioned to advise us as to how best to help our kids.
- Maintain healthy habits
Keeping our bodies and minds healthy during this stressful time is so important. Exercise has many benefits that we could all do with right now. I find my workout time quite therapeutic as it keeps my mind off the daily stresses. I’m also grateful that Aidan and Alyssa still have their Kinetics lessons, albeit via ZOOM as it really gets them moving.
- Encourage Independence
My kids are fairly independent, thanks to their Montessori pre-schooling. They may need some reminding every now and again, but they actually take pride in making up their own beds, helping themselves to a glass of water and getting dressed by themselves.
Lockdown is actually the perfect time to get the kids involved in housework. Even if your child is very young, you can get them to pick up their toys and pack them away. Let them spray and wash your glass doors or let them help you fold up washing.
The same applies to their school work. Yes, we certainly have to guide them as much as we can while being supported by the teachers. However, I am not a teacher – I’m doing the best that I can.
- Take it one day at a time
Lastly, if there is one thing this lockdown has taught me, it is that there is no use in stressing about the next day. Things are changing every single day and it’s difficult to plan anything perfectly right now.
Everyone is navigating their way through this new normal. So, let’s just take a deep breath and manage each day as it comes.