Working, Living, Learning — All from Home
Here we are again — over one year later — in lockdown. The phrases “stay at home,” “flatten the curve” and “physical distancing” have become all too familiar. “Languishing” has become the new buzz word to explain how many parents are feeling and COVID-19 fatigue has permeated all of our households.
This emotional burnout is not a surprise, given how much the pandemic has changed our lives. We never signed up to home-school our children, but now our roles and routines have been turned on their heads. As a working mom of an eight- and nine-year-old, I had to quickly figure out how to work remotely, home school, be a mom and wife, and continue to cook, clean and grocery shop!
Of course, I’m not alone in balancing the ever-present needs of our families with work; parents throughout the world are struggling with how to remain productive while also bearing the responsibilities of parenting and homeschooling. Even though you may have done it for over a year by now, I offer the steps below as a refresher (and possibly some fresh ideas) to help families manage these challenging circumstances and increase productivity and harmony at home.
Children thrive when given a routine. At school, your child/ren had been following a fixed schedule; recreating a similar environment at home makes the situation easier for them. Some helpful tips on routine are:
- Keep sleep and meal times structured.
- Organize worksheets and materials the night before to ensure everything is ready and easily accessible.
- Go through the schedule with your child/ren before the day begins so they know what to expect.
- Make sure you regularly revisit your routines to ensure they’re working for everyone and adjust as necessary.
Having your office in your bedroom, dining room or kitchen has blurred the lines between what is often an already delicate work/life balance. More than ever, you need to set boundaries between your personal and professional zones in order to maintain your mental health and model best practices for your child/ren.
While in school, your child was usually active during recess, playing with friends or participating in sport or gym. Being in quarantine without regular programs makes physical activity more challenging, so it is important to include it in your daily routine.
- Turn on an exercise or dance video.
- Go for a nature walk. Remember to count your steps and log them for House Points as we partner to join together to Walk For Israel!
- Ride bikes, scooters or rollerblade.
It can be challenging to stay optimistic at this time, but it is also an opportunity to bond and make lasting memories with your child/ren, while building excellent real-world skills together:
- Playing memory games helps work on memory strategies.
- Playing games of logic continues to build problem-solving and thinking skills.
- Baking and cooking can be used to enhance math skills.
- Arts and crafts help develop creative thinking.
When so much of your day is devoted to taking care of others, we need to be reminded not to neglect our own self-care. Try some of the following activities to nurture your health and well-being:
- Carve out a quiet time or meditation break as part of your day. Early in the morning before the day begins may be the best opportunity for your “quiet time.”
- Listen to your favorite music and check out podcasts that cater to your interests.
- Catch up on your reading and consider starting a virtual book club with friends.
- Schedule meaningful catch-up sessions with friends and family.
- Be sure to limit your social media activity and news consumption.
I have used many of these strategies to make sense out of this difficult, and ever-changing, time. I’ve tried to focus on the positive and appreciate the time that my family has spent together building new memories and learning new skills together. There is hope, as we see more people getting vaccinated, that the end is in sight and our children will one day learn about this pandemic in their history class. But for now, just tucking your cranky colleagues into bed each night is an accomplishment. And it should feel like it.