7 Tips to Help Parents Manage
Right now is a difficult time for parents and families. In addition to managing a change in work routines, loss of income, and a general uprooting of lifestyle, parents also have to incorporate remote learning or homeschool programs into their day-to-day for their children. With no clear expectation of when things will return to “normal”, the 2020-21 school year feels fraught with tension and frustration.
At The Family Center, we focus on parents, teachers, families, and children. We’ve been open for in-person sessions and telehealth sessions throughout the pandemic, and these appointments have helped us understand what our communities are going through and the obstacles parents and families are facing.
We’ve put together our top seven tips to help manage remote learning or homeschool programs this Fall. Although these tips are not comprehensive of the limitless possibilities you can opt for, they will help you manage the day-to-day schooling, working, and home maintenance. As always, you can give any one of our professionals a call to schedule an appointment to get an extra boost of support, whether for you or your children, to help during this time.
Top Tips for Managing Remote Learning and Homeschool Programs in Maryland
Adapt Your Remote Learning Schedule to Complement Your Weekly Routine
This will vary from remote learning situations to homeschooling programs, but the key to this tip is to take advantage of a more free-form schedule that fits around your weekly routine. Because you no longer need to factor in waking your child up, prepping them for the day, seeing them off to school, and then picking them up and rushing to after school activities, you have more hours in the morning and afternoon that are freed up. Take advantage of this open schedule to allow kids to sleep in, take some time for yourself in the morning, schedule physical activities or hobbies in the middle of the day, plan an extra-long lunch break, and more.
If you work odd days and don’t keep to a typical Monday through Friday schedule, don’t be afraid to plan school days that are half days or a place a weekend day in the middle of the week. The breaks will give you a chance to relax, making both you and your child more receptive to the days you are focusing on school activities.
Create a Parent Support Group to Lean On
While large gatherings are difficult to assemble right now, small groups are still accessible with minimal risk. Put together a list of parents in your area who are open to being apart of a parent support group. Lean on one another for supplies, schedule recommendations, and tutoring assistance. If you’re bad at math but great at grammar, offer to help the kids in the group with English lessons while someone else manages the math tutoring.
If you’re called unexpectedly onto your job site, an emergency arises, or you face any other issues, the support group can also allow resources for homes your kid can to go to where they can still work on their school projects when you have to rush out. This can also allow the group a chance to trade off scheduled days for taking the kids so you have free days to manage your own workload and take a break and refocus. Remember: you are not an island, take advantage of anyone else in the same situation as you for support during this time.
Find Parenting Groups Focused on Social Activities for the Kids
A large part of going into school for kids is the social aspect. Chances are, they miss their friends, the social stimulation, and more. Connect with local parenting groups for get-togethers that allow the kids to play, learn together, practice sports, or any other social activity. It’s just as important that kids receive a social experience as much as it is important they learn educational facts and applications. Plus, social activities will greatly help with their mental health, energy levels, and more. Check with your local school if you are involved in a remote learning program, perhaps some of the coaches are still offering small groups for practice in select situations.
Plan Educational Activities That Include Exercise, Creativity, and Movement
Physical activity, creative outlets, and movement throughout the day are all important to incorporate throughout the educational lessons. If your remote learning or home school program hasn’t taken into account these factors, you may need to do a little out of the box thinking yourself to include them.
Take breaks inbetween each lesson that allow for stretching, some walking around, and maybe some impromptu dance sessions or quick physical games. Take an extended lunch break and walk before or after your meal, even if just around the block. Coloring breaks, cheap craft supplies like craft paper, scissors, and glue, and other items can provide activities for your kids that also get them thinking. If your kids are older, encourage that they write a story, or even film a favorite activity. In whatever way you can, get your kids out from behind the computer screen and problem-solving with creative solutions and tactics. This also allows them a chance to express themselves and have fun during the day.
Remote Learning Can Be Frustrating, So Take Breaks During Stressful Lessons
No one expects every lesson or every day to go smoothly. If you or your child are getting frustrated with a lesson plan, it’s okay to step back and take a break -- whether for a few minutes or until the next day. No one can learn or teach while frustrated, and it’ll make the lesson harder for both you and your child if you try to push through these moments without taking a step back and taking a break.
If you consistently find yourself or your kid battling the lessons and not understanding the material, it may be time to take a different approach. If you’re part of a remote learning program through a school, reach out to teachers or counselors for their advice. Plenty of online groups are also available, discussing homeschool issues and solutions other parents have used. Groups like The Family Center are also available to provide support, guidance, and problem-solving recommendations based on professional experience and insight.
However you decide to handle the frustrating moments, remember to use kindness, patience, and know that nothing needs to be completed right away. Even if you’ve fallen behind, there are resources to help get everyone back on track with as minimal stress as possible.
Part of Family or Single Parent Support Includes Taking Care of Yourself
One important aspect of managing remote learning is to take care of yourself and create time for you to do what you enjoy. Whether you carve out one hour for television, half an hour for exercise, a trip to the bookstore, a break with your friends, or take a day trip while setting up your kid at a friend’s house, it’s important. The more you take on during this time, the more you will feel stress, physical fatigue, and possible drowsiness, all affecting your mood and ability to help your family. Even when it seems impossible, carve out some time for yourself and stick to it.
Have Patience and Open Communication with Your Remote Learning Teachers
If you’ve opted to stick with the remote learning program through your local school district, make sure you’re open and communicative with the teachers and administrators. Everyone’s focus is on educating the kids while keeping them safe, so discuss any issues you’re facing or worries and concerns you have. As long as you keep everyone up to date on how your children are handling the lessons and what you’re expectations are, you can continue to monitor and manage progress throughout the school year. Do not be afraid to seek help with remote learning whenever you need it.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember we are un unexpected times, dealing with issues no one anticipated. Give yourself a break and do not worry too hard about lessons, grades, falling behind, etc. There are always resources to help you and your child, and if they fall a little behind there are avenues to help them catch up.
Utilizing your community is vital right now, however you choose to do it. Online chats, local parenting groups, teachers, and professionals are all available to help out. So breathe deep, focus, and know that you can get through this.