Managing Your Child’s Online Learning During the Pandemic: Part 2
In “Managing Your Child’s Online Learning During the Pandemic: Part 1”, we discussed the challenges your young child may be facing due to their altered learning environments. However, it is just as important to recognize the challenges that you, the parent, are facing. Many parents who once relied on schools and day-care to support and educate their child during the day, now find themselves responsible for monitoring their child’s learning. Some parents may have jobs that are flexible and allow working from home; others jobs may not, and you might be in a situation where you need to take time off in order to care for your child. Or perhaps you are a stay-at-home parent, but still feel out of your element with new responsibilities of overseeing learning. Regardless of the situation, the pandemic has undoubtedly created new challenges for parents.
Related: Managing Your Child's Online Learning During the Pandemic: Part 1
Challenges for Parents
Balancing Work and Child Education
The pandemic has upturned many routines and schedules, and you might find yourself struggling to manage both working at home and overseeing the education of your child. In fact, the balance of work and online learning for kids is disproportionally difficult for parents of young children, an April 2019 study by Canvas found. Here are some suggestions on ways to help adjust:
Schedule a midday nap
With more flexibility in online learning, consider establishing a daily midday nap, or rest time, for your young child. This would not only give your child’s mind a break, it will also grant you a consistent period of uninterrupted work or break time.
Coordinate with your partner
If your partner is also working from home, try to alternate time periods in which one is solely working and the other is keeping an eye on your child. Make a schedule that best accommodates both of your work schedules and commitments, such as meetings or presentations.
Communicate with employer
Let your employer know that while working at home, you will also have the responsibility of overseeing your child’s education. Many employers can give more flexibility for working hours or work expectations to better accommodate your challenging new situation. The key is communication.
Without in-person school, you now are in charge of your child’s education and learning. But you did not plan to be your child’s substitute teacher, and you may be feeling unsure and unprepared to support all of your child’s education needs. Here are some suggestions on how to turn for help:
Connect with teachers at school
Don’t feel like you must know how to explain every topic and question to your child. Save some of your time (and sanity) and reach out to their teachers for help or guidance. Ask for additional materials on areas your child may be struggling, or for more thorough explanations on a specific assignment or a particular topic.
Hire a tutor
If financially feasible, or available through your school district, consider hiring a tutor specializing in a subject or two in which your child particularly struggles. Another option may be to ask an older, responsible neighborhood student to help out as a tutor. This will take some burden off of you and potentially create time to complete other work or have some time to yourself.
Seek support from family and friends
Perhaps you have an older friend without children at home who has some free time, or your parents live close by - consider reaching out and asking for help. Even if they can only commit to an hour or two, they can provide new perspectives and take away some of the stress that comes with remote learning, all the while giving you some precious time to focus on other tasks or to simply take a much deserved break.
Social distancing and limited opportunities to interact with others has likely long since gotten old, and you are at home constantly. You may be feeling disconnected. Here are some suggestions to help:
Stay in touch with family and friends
Just as it is important that your child stays connected with friends, it is important for you too! Make sure to slice out time for calling friends and family, or even asking a friend to join you on your morning walk. Remember, there are people around you who you can vent to and laugh with - they are just a text or phone call away.
See a Mental Health Specialist
You have a lot on your plate, and you might be feeling overwhelmed, not knowing whom to talk about your struggles or how to cope. Do not just try to power through this alone - there is absolutely no shame in seeking out support and talking to a professional who can help you work through what you are experiencing.
Know that you are not alone!
Countless other parents are facing many of the same challenges as you. While no situation is exactly the same, just know you are not alone in your struggles. You will get through this – and having a support network and a plan of action will help!