During this uncertain time, we have many families who are juggling remote learning while working from home, and trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for their children. No easy task.
Many people have asked Amanda Weeden, one of our leadership team members, about how to handle this for older children and teens. Here is her top suggestion – creating a schedule for your family.
Create a flexible schedule – call it a plan or game plan; it’s the most important thing. Allow for times, agreed upon with the parent working from home, when they can get homework help or ask questions.
The key is giving your older child the skills for independence. Write down the steps, if they need help remembering the decision process and hang it up in a prominent place.
- Is it life-threatening? Immediately get Mom or Dad (or the caregiver at home).
- Is it a question that can be answered at check-in time? Wait until then.
- Can you continue to work without help? Move on to the next math problem or question, or work on a different assignment.
Consider scheduling in chores they don’t terribly hate doing, such as prepping items for dinner, or helping with the pets. Not only does this foster their independence, it helps the parent working from home.
Be generous with words of encouragement. Let him/her know how helpful they are to the family and how you will all get through this difficult time together.
If you have multiple children, do things together at the same time, such as playing board games or going outside for a break.
For junior-high and older children, try not to leave them on their own overly much. They also can benefit from periodic check-in times, reassurance, and support.
Regardless of your children’s ages, abruptly switching from a highly-structured environment to “school at home” is going to be challenging. A daily schedule will help them adjust and be successful.
Finally, if your child has executive function challenges, anxiety, ADHD, or other learning differences, adjust the schedule or “game plan” accordingly.
Ultimately, giving our children a loving and supportive environment is critical. Academics, while important, does not supersede our children’s mental health and well-being. This health crisis is tough on all of us, and how we get through it will matter more down the road than if he/she completed an art project on time.
By Amanda Weeden, GSHE team leader