Seven weeks ago, my children’s school turned into virtual learning, my employer enforced teleworking and I also have to be Mom. Establishing a routine was a challenge at first as I had to juggle all three roles in one day.
The school sent a schedule of what my children’s schedule should be so that they can make the best of keeping up with their assignments in a day. What the schedule did not include is where the parent(s) workload / assignments fit into. Due to social distancing protocols, it was and continues to be a challenge. Since the schools had to abruptly establish daily assignments, I reviewed each child’s work load and established a “schedule”. In the process, I needed to think about how I was going to handle my own work load. I made sure to set up the children’s work stations along with my own. I wanted their spaces to have minimal distractions. I provided a headset for each computer and their daily google meetings were conducted in a separate room to minimize distracting the rest of the children. I wanted this to work for us so I needed to make it work for us. Children need structure and routine as I know I do in order to be productive.
Now I would not consider this bribery or blackmail…BUT it was a win-win:
I had my children complete as much of the assignments as they could including what was assigned for the rest of the week. I made a deal with them the first day. I told them if they can complete their assignments beyond what was assigned in a day–get ahead by performing additional work that is still due by the end of the week, they would get more Free-time. This would mean more time playing with their Xbox, their Nintendo Switch, TV, play outside–whatever it was during Free-time. I also reminded them that rushing through their school work and doing a “half-butt” job will only lessen their Free-time in the end if they needed to redo the work. We had a couple of half-butt jobs until they realized that it was just easier to put their best effort forward, spend more time understanding and doing the work than lose precious play time on their video games. While this worked for the more independent children, the younger children needed more one-on-one time.
Below is the schedule that works for me and my family. The children have gotten accustomed to the schedule. I remind myself that this is just a guide and that the durations may vary and I adjust as I need to. If they finish their work earlier than scheduled, they got more playtime. In my own work schedule I would squeeze my own tasks – laundry, a half an hour work out, a coffee break, alone time, mental break.