2020 has thrown us all for quite a loop (to say the least.) While many professionals are adapting to working from home, parents are taking on even MORE roles and responsibilities than ever before. Roles like “teacher.” (As if being a parent isn’t hard enough already!)
According to a new survey for The New York Times, 80% of U.S. parents who are both working remotely will also be handling child care and education. The village that parents relied on to help raise their children just isn’t the same.
While the state of the world continues to change, we must continue to change with it. For parents, that means making the most of these new roles so we can better teach our children and roll with the punches. Because we’re parents and that’s what we do!
Here are our top tips for remote learning:
1. Establish a routine: Children require routine, especially when there are so many unknowns in the world. A daily routine helps reduce a child’s stress and anxiety and will regulate their internal clocks, which helps with their energy, appetite, and ability to sleep well at night. Establish a routine in your household just as you would if you were sending your kids off to school. Go to bed at x, wake up at x, eat breakfast, get dressed, and brush your teeth. Without the commute to school, you may even be able to squeeze in a little playtime or walk around the neighborhood before it’s time to log in to class.
Pro Tip: Schedule 10 minutes of meditation into your family’s morning routine. Meditation benefits are endless but include stress reduction, a positive mood, and an increased attention span. All of which will help immensely in a learning environment.
2. Create a learning environment: Compartmentalizing your home is one of the best things you can do to simplify your life and increase productivity – especially during a time where our homes are also our offices, gyms, classrooms, etc. Now more than ever, we must be disciplined about the purpose each room serves. You wouldn’t cook a meal in the bathroom, so don’t conduct class in bed.
Establish one room or area in your home as the classroom. Set-up desks and a laptop or computer for learning. Ensure your kids are equipped to operate at peak performance with Lennar’s Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ Home Design – the first in the world. With Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ Home Design homeowners will receive a superior Wi-Fi experience – no more dead spots, failed calls, or lagged Zoom meetings. Hang age-appropriate posters, have all supplies organized and accessible and place a clock on the wall. Follow the same basic principles we discussed for setting-up a home office (i.e., choose a brightly lit room, bring in a few houseplants, etc.) When it’s lunchtime, eat in the kitchen. When it’s break time, go outside. Using this room for school and learning only will help strengthen the mental association between being at a desk and learning.
3. Learn together and help along the way: Education in 2020 is a whole new world. We’re all trying to navigate this new way of learning and doing our best to balance all the hats we’re forced to wear. If you’re able, learn alongside your children. The better you understand the material, the easier it is to help your children understand it as well. If your student is stuck on a problem or isn’t comprehending the material, try to explain it in a new way – sing a song, use examples and analogies or use household objects. Make learning fun, be patient, and encourage your kiddos every step of the way.
Pro Tip: Emphasize the “why.” When kids aren’t feeling motivated to learn, or they tend to dread a specific subject, explain why it’s essential for them to learn the information. Provide real-life examples and show them how the information is useful.
4. Utilize resources and tools: Check your school’s website to see what kind of help, support, advice, and tools they’re offering and suggesting to students and parents. Most public schools will offer an e-library. We also recommend connecting with your children’s teachers if their schedules allow. Introduce your child and ask them if they have any advice or resources available to help make learning at home more comfortable for you and your students. You can also utilize the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution’s online podcasts, events, exhibitions, tours, and animal webcams.
Pro Tip: Involve other “teachers!” Tap aunts, uncles, friends, and grandparents to “substitute” every once in a while. If grandpa is a history buff, ask him to step in for an hour to cover. If your friend down the street is a math whiz, ask for her help when faced with complex problems. Your network of friends and family are your best resources.
5. Make time for fun: Kids who enjoy school are the best learners. Incorporate fun activities, games, time for socializing, playtime, and creative exercises into your daily routines. Don’t fight your little one’s attention span. If they’re starting to lose interest or stare off into space – take a 10 to 15-minute break. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, do some jumping jacks, run a lap around your home, and get back into it refreshed.
Pro Tip: Schedule virtual hangouts with your kid’s peers. Facetime or Zoom a few of your children’s pals for 15 to 30 minutes at the end of the day or around lunchtime so they can chat or play games together. If your kid is 12 or older, the Houseparty app is a place they can play games and talk at the same time.
Taking on the roles of caregiver, parent, employee, and teacher won’t always be easy. But where there are challenges, there are rewards – like witnessing your child make a new friend, or seeing the joy on their face when they solve a difficult math problem. Try to see the positive aspects of this new world we live in and always remember that we’re all in this together.