Being a working parent is difficult. Balancing child care, work responsibilities, and household duties can be exhausting. But working and trying to manage your children’s e-learning at the same time can seem nearly impossible! In an August 2020 Washington Post survey, half of working parents said that having their children e-learn at home full time would make it difficult or impossible for them to work.
At this point, many families have been e-learning for months due to school closure, quarantine, or personal choice. If your family is like most, you probably have good days and bad days. In this article, we’ll offer a few tips to help you get through the difficult days and set yourself up for better days of e-learning ahead.
Be Honest and Open with Your Supervisor
Nearly all workplaces experienced a seismic shift in March 2020 as working from home became the only option for employees. These businesses have had to become much more flexible than they ever imagined. That includes making special arrangements for working parents.
As you manage e-learning for your children, keep a clear line of communication open with your supervisor. Most businesses are sympathetic to the circumstances of parents today, and they’ll give you a lot of flexibility. As you set a plan, be sure the expectations of both you and your boss are clear.
While you’re doing double duty at home, it might be helpful to plan an unconventional work schedule. Can you wake up early to get some work done before school starts? Can you schedule meetings after school ends so you won’t be interrupted?
Set Up Structure and Routine for Your Family
It’s no secret that the pandemic has disrupted normal life; that’s putting it lightly. The normal structure and routine of everyday life has been lost, leaving many parents feeling frazzled.
Setting up a daily routine for your family can be extremely helpful when it comes to e-learning. Your children will know what to expect day-to-day, and they’ll be better able to separate learning time from free time at home. It doesn’t need to be planned down to the minute, though. Set up a general flow for the day and make small adjustments as you go.
Don’t forget to plan for sleep, too. Many teens would sleep until noon if they could and will stay up late at all costs. Set expectations for weekday bedtimes and wake times so that your children can be ready to learn during the day.
Give Your Children Responsibilities
When juggling working from home with e-learning, a little help goes a long way! Get your children involved in age-appropriate responsibilities and jobs around the house. Consider these suggestions:
- Have your children set their own alarms. Give them a list of things that should be done before they sit down for breakfast. This could be making their beds, brushing their teeth, or getting out their laptops and school supplies.
- Make sure your children have the school supplies they need. Color-coded notebooks and folders can help them stay organized so they spend less time asking you simple questions.
- Plan an end-of-day meeting for you and your children. Have them tell you about their assignments and the work they did during the school day. Knowing that this check-in time is scheduled each day might help them stay on track during the day.
Ask for Help
The isolation of COVID-19 is the worst part of it for many people. If you can, involve a few people in your COVID bubble who can help with e-learning and provide a bit of socialization for your children. These people could be grandparents, other parents from your school, or neighbors. You could also consider learning pods or microschools in your community.
If you live with a spouse or co-parent, you might consider setting up alternating shifts. When they are working, you can be attentive to e-learning and when you are working, they can be with your children. This way, your children have more one-on-one attention, and you can devote focused time to your work responsibilities.
Give Lots of Grace
When you have those impossibly challenging days—days where everything seems to be falling apart—remember to give yourself plenty of grace. Give that same grace to your spouse, your children, and their school teachers. No one is an expert at handling this pandemic. Do the best you can, and let that be enough.