Here are some tips for working and homeschooling in Covid 19 to provide a positive experience for the family and maintain your sanity, serenity and recovery at the same time. You can use this time to get in touch with your creative, positive, and problem-solving skills. It’s an opportunity to improve your relationships, really. Working mothers have always had to juggle their time and schedules, along with meeting the other needs of their families. There’s nothing new about that. But now you can teach resilience when times are challenging.
Before the Pandemic, moms and dads were exhausted and over stimulated a lot of the time. There are so much to do. Getting out of the house, getting kids to school, and making sure everyone had their equipment and work done is like having your own tiny army to manage. For those who are in recovery, (there are 23 million Americans in some form of recovery from substance and alcohol use) making time for reading, meetings, and fellowship was another crucial challenge. Wellness in Covid 19 depends on staying connected to that recovery support system using technology instead of face to face. Before, life was busy, but now it’s busy in a new way.
Working and home schooling is a new art form
We’ve talked about quarantine envy a few weeks ago. Some people have more space, better views, and bigger back yards than others. Being able to be outside, even if it’s cold or rainy makes working from home and home schooling easier. Life in the suburbs and country bring children closer to nature and give them a place to play. But not everyone has the luxury of outside space. I was a city dweller mom, so we always had to have a reason to get outside. There was no place to just sit in the air. We had to go shopping, get ice cream, march to the park. But the saving grace was school. Now, millions of kids are stuck at home at least part of the time with parents who are working from home.
Wherever you live, you may be working from home for a long time. Alex and Sarah, my son and daughter in law, will not be returning to their offices in New York City until mid 2021, they tell me. They have been working from home since March. Throughout the summer their schedule with their 3- and 5-year-old girls was all about getting out of the house and keeping busy, while avoiding other the families and children they used to see every day. They didn’t know what was going to happen in the fall. Then, right before preschool started, some of the teachers decided not to come back. Uncertainty can fill you with fear.
Working and homeschooling In Covid 19 talk about it but don’t complain
Talk about it, but don’t complain. Coping with fear and uncertainty can drive you crazy, especially if you’re used to being in control. You’re not in control of this. How should you handle it? Work and school and activities are not the same and not going to be the same for a long time. Questions that may torment you include: When will I see loved ones again? Will we go back to school and work sooner or later? What if someone I love gets the Corona virus, and I can’t be there? If I’m grieving the loss of a loved one to overdose or Covid 19, how do I cope with grief, work and homeschooling, all at the same time?
For wellness in the time of Covid 19, talk about what’s happening in terms of problem solving from day to day. Try not to mourn your old way of life in front of the children. They need to feel you’re okay, even if you’re not. Don’t complain about what you don’t have, or what’s going on. Use this experience as a way to teach resilience. Be grateful you have a home and food to eat. When your basic needs are met, you can manage everything else. Your children will remember this time and how you handled it. Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Take charge of thing you can control This is positive thinking and absolutely essential for your mental and physical health.
Working and homeschooling in Covid 19: First organize your space
Make sure both you and your children have their own space to work and play. It doesn’t have to be a big space or even a separated space. I wrote a lot of mysteries in my bed (don’t tell anyone). During the day, my bed was my office. The kitchen was the gathering place after school and on weekends. We did a lot of cooking together. When my daughter, Lindsey, and I launched Reach Out Recovery nine years ago, I used a walk-in closet as my office. It was great for sound. If you have a place to put a workstation in your bedroom, all the better. Kids need a table and chair; many games can be played on the floor. Just create that special place for each of you. You can name your spaces just for fun and make some signs.
Make a schedule and keep to your routine
Children (and parents and pets) need to know what’s coming up. You and your family will feel better and perform better if you do the same things every day. Having a routine is an important part of recovery, too. Free-form life may be what teens long for, but it doesn’t work for wellness or working and home schooling in the time of Covid 19. Get up at the same time every day, only an hour later on weekends, have breakfast, get to work and school. Plan ahead so you all know what you’re doing throughout the day. Your schedule will include times when household tasks are done and who does them. If you are a family of two, it’s still important to schedule your time, so you and your child (or dependent of any age) know what’s expected and when tasks, breaks, and meals will take place. If you have dogs, then you know how to organize around the needs of dogs. Humans need the same routine to feel secure.
Take breaks to ease tension and reset
This should be part of your planning. Get up, walk around. Go outside. This doesn’t mean you have to interrupt a productive work or play flow just because your schedule says it’s time to do something else. Breaks can be called when kids get restless, have a temper tantrum, or you just need to stop. Your kids had breaks at school, and you certainly had break time wherever you worked. You can schedule your breaks, but unscheduled breaks don’t have to put you off your game. You’re in a war zone, in a way. No matter how carefully you plan your time, home is not a quiet haven. There will always be mini crises of one kind or another. Mood swings for everyone are going to happen because you simply can’t get away and hang out with different people. Being flexible may not be easy for goal-oriented parents who toiled in highly structured offices or workplaces. Home can be especially chaotic when children are young. Plan your breaks, but also take time outs when you need to. Some older children are expected to work 5 hours a day. That’s a lot of study time without social interaction or activities, so help them chill out when they need to.
Use technology for improved working and homeschooling in Covid 19
Technology can be an important part of your support system. For home schooling, you can check out learning tools on the Internet. You can find tools to download to supplement your children’s learning, and games and puzzles to keep them occupied and still learning. You can allow your children to have more educational screen time. Get more devices if you can afford them. Use your phones for Facetime with your children’s friends and relatives. Use technology to stay connected with recovery.
Go outside. Journal about what you see. Bring nature inside.
Working and homeschooling in Covid 19 provides opportunities to use your outdoor time to learn about nature. What do you see when you go outside? Can you explore nature and bird or animal watch when you’re outside? Here’s an opportunity discuss season changes and draw or write about it when you get home. Journaling and artwork are both great for self-expression. Anything that you can do to explore your feelings and your children’s feelings through art, music, and writing will help to make them feel positive about their lives and what’s happening now. Grow something indoors. Plants, violets, herbs, mushrooms, sprouts. Plant some seeds and bring some nature inside.
Explore new hobbies
This is a great time to explore cooking with kids, even if you’re not fond of cooking, your children love making things. This is where you can use the Internet to find easy recipes. You can shop for inexpensive ingredients and make your own treats. This week I made mayonnaise, chocolate syrup, sauerkraut, cake and ice cream. It’s fun to try new things and see that you can do it better and cheaper than store bought. If you love crafts, share your love with your children. Music is the ultimate winner for improving your mood. Listen to music. Sing and dance to the music, learn a simple instrument. Use our recovery downloads for coloring and recovery fun.