Let’s face it…parenting during a pandemic is not easy! Especially when you have school aged children at home. School closures and distance learning in many cases have disrupted family routines and challenged families to adapt to evolving circumstances. While teachers are doing their absolute best to support children during distance learning, it is undeniable that some children may not be getting the individualized support they once did while receiving in-person instruction. This can cause conflict between parent and child as parents are stepping in to provide that extra academic support while managing their own daily stressors. So, what can be done to help manage these conflicts?
I was chatting with one of the families in my practice when the school closures first started and she was telling me that, while it was overall helpful that they weren't stuck with a rigid schedule for completing schoolwork every day, it was still difficult to keep her son on track...especially with worksheets. She tried setting different boundaries around the task, such as completing it by a certain time to receive a privilege, etc, but with limited success. Since he's really into games, I recommended turning the task into one. What we ended up having him do was to time how long it took him to complete one sentence of writing and then try to break his record with the next sentence. What had originally taken him close to a minute or more to finish a single sentence was reduced down to 10-15 seconds per sentence because of the added excitement.
Steps to help at-home learning run more smoothly:
1) Set up assignment/study calendar...my family uses TickTick which allows you to prioritize tasks as well as check them off when completed
2) Establish a daily routine...you can use paper or a dry erase board to list out a daily schedule (add pictures for non-readers or to help make it fun for any age)
3) Set timers for work periods and breaks (the TickTick app has this available as an integrated feature)
4) Include strategies to manage distractions...turn the task into a game, listen to music or a meditation that helps with concentration, chew on chewable jewelery, etc
Your next step: SET UP YOUR FAMILY'S DAILY ROUTINE
As always, I'm here for support if you need any additional tips or if you want to vent any frustration that comes up. Being a mom with a couple of kids of my own in this scenario, I can relate to the obstacles that have come up along the way, so I'm happy to share ideas and, who knows, you may have an amazing one that I haven't thought of! Hope to hear from you soon!