Virtual learning, remote learning, hybrid learning, pods, cohorts – phrases and words that were not likely part of your regular vocabulary a couple of years ago. Now, these phrases are part of regular conversations with our kids, family members, and friends. And even though we’ve been living in this new school environment for a while now, it may still feel just a bit off and at times overwhelming for us and for our kids. Enter some survival tips…scratch that; these are thriving tips.
Modify Your Mindset
We’ve been through lock-downs, mandates, more news than we’ve watched in a long time, elections, arguments with friends and family, toilet paper shortages, and a lot more – in the last year! Rather than dwell on what was likely a chaotic time, think about the accomplishments that took place. Were you able to enjoy more family time, did you or your kids learn a new skill, or find a new favorite hobby? It can be tough to look back and identify the positives, but it will definitely help you and the kids in your life to reflect on the good instead of the bad.
Take A Look At The Routine
Take a moment and consider the routine that’s in place for school. Is it working for you and your kids? If not, change it! Modify the wake-up or bedtime, the lunch schedule, or implement more outdoors time (safely, of course). If it’s not working or could work better, consider it. A change in routine, even a slight change, could breathe new life into the last remaining months of school.
Revamp The Study Space
If your child has been working in the same space for the past few months, consider making a change. Teachers often change seats for their students, so they get a different perspective in the classroom, so why not try this at home too? This doesn’t need to be drastic. It could be a new picture on their desk, swap out their light, try a new chair, or even a new notebook. Even a little change can reinvigorate learning.
Tweak The Boundaries
Boundaries are important for all of us, especially if we are juggling working from home while our children learn from home. If your original boundaries have been put out to pasture, consider re-establishing them or creating new boundaries. This applies to both the adults and the kids – they may need you to avoid interrupting them during class. A good way to start re-establishing boundaries is to have a chat with your kids to openly discuss what has been working and what hasn’t. From there, conscious changes can be made for the remainder of the school year.
Establish A Support Group
You and your kids may need a little support every now and then, and that’s okay! Reach out to other parents to create support groups. These groups could meet virtually every week, and in a pinch if needed. These groups could be a good way for your kids to get homework help, talk about things other than school, or watch YouTube videos together. And, on the adult side, it could be a way for you to get in some non-school, non-work conversation – we could all use that!
Meet In Person
If you are comfortable, consider organizing a small group of like-aged kids that can get together outdoors to talk, enjoy nature, or even study together. The ability to be around other kids may be exactly what your child and other children, need while still staying safe. Follow CDC, state, and local guidelines, of course.
Ask your kids questions about what they are learning, their favorite subject, or something they would love to learn about. The idea is to learn a bit more about what they are up to, and even to share some insight on when you learned that same topic in school. Asking, and sharing could even turn into a bonding moment if you realize you are both interested in similar topics.
Reward Yourselves & Take A Break
Although the last year has been hard (there’s no denying that), you and your kids have accomplished a lot. Give yourself, and your kids, a break and do something fun. Perhaps that’s a bike ride, a relaxing movie night or taking a moment to enjoy that new hobby you picked up a few months ago. Whatever it is, give yourself a mental break from the world around you, homework, regular work, housework, and just relax and enjoy your time together. Laugh at something funny, and know that you and your children have grown stronger over the past year.
There’s a couple more months of school…you, and your kids got this!