Juggling work and homeschooling has been a permanent challenge for parents who are working at home even before the pandemic. These include parents who are home business owners, employed telecommuters, independent contractors, and raising their children by themselves.
If you’re working from home to spend more quality time with the family, the idea of hiring someone to look after your little humans may seem counter-intuitive. Still, many at-home parents are willing to hire in-home help. These days, balancing work and home responsibilities is a difficult feat. Families have to plan how they can accommodate their children’s needs and their financial and professional circumstances. But if there’s one thing they share in common, these parents want only the best for their children.
Parents who are concerned about their child’s social skills, emotional growth, and artistic development depend on schools that provide before- and after-school care. These schools focus not only the child’s academic career but also on their unique talents and gifts. But for children taking the homeschool path, the child’s academic and social stimulation can be difficult to navigate.
If you’re having a hard time juggling responsibilities at work and your child’s homeschooling, here are ways to pull off your parenting responsibilities during a pandemic.
Teach children how to help themselves
As soon as your child develops the ability to prepare meals for themselves, give them the freedom to manage their breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Ideally, the meals should be healthy and don’t require cooking. You can also cook them in advance so your child will simply prepare them.
Establish systems and routines so your child can handle normal situations independently, such as feeding their pet, replacing toilet paper, and sharpening the pencil. According to Harvard Business Review, maintaining routine or regular schedules helps parents in establishing firm guideposts for creating childcare and work schedules.
Whether or not you have a nanny, you should try keeping up mealtimes, outdoor time, and activity blocks. You can also apply this when traveling with the family for long periods. As you progress, you can modify the schedule, but it’s crucial to establish the foundation first based on what you and your kids are accustomed to.
Consider what is developmentally ideal
Typically, infants and toddlers require the most attention, especially during their waking hours. Meanwhile, school-age children may need some alone time for an hour or two, but they will still need your support with homeschooling, particularly in managing homework and school projects. High schoolers are the most independent since they prefer spending less time with the family and more time with their friends. Still, they will also require support with major schoolwork and academic affairs.
Depending on your child’s age, each one requires a different level of attention and support. Although some of them may want to spend less time with you, you have to ensure your children will still feel your presence and participation.
When you’re not working, you should be as completely present as possible with your children. Make them feel they are your priority when you’re not busy with work. Make the most of every moment by celebrating once you and your child are done with work and school. Put away all your mobile devices and focus on reconnecting with the family.
Homeschool planners, academic calendars, reminder lists, and chore charts are tools to keep everyone updated about the activities for the day. During breakfast, check in with the kids about their upcoming activities, exams, and other plans to keep everyone on the same page about what needs to be done.
Identify the schedules when they need your assistance and when they want to be alone. These are tasks they can do independently or may require a collaborative effort. Set clear expectations and urge everyone to present suggestions on how they can make things go smoothly throughout the day.
Another important rule is to establish a set of rules during homeschooling and communicate them clearly to your child. For example, you can set a gadget rule at home about the right times they can use mobile devices and access online games. Instead of waiting for your supervision, you can also teach them how to tidy up their work surfaces after homeschooling sessions.
Parenting during a pandemic has never been more difficult. Some parents who have difficulty balancing their work and personal responsibilities can suffer from guilt, especially if they feel they aren’t doing well. Now more than ever, the pandemic requires us to find safe and responsible ways to fulfill our tasks at work and home. At the same time, we should also take care of our mental health by learning to accept that things won’t always run smoothly.