Let’s face it, many of us are looking at adding the job title of “teacher” to our resumes this year. Not actually, but you get our point. Parents always play a role in their children’s education, but this co-teaching is new.
You are faced with the reality of schooling for your children, or preschool, work, and maintaining the household. It’s overwhelming, but we are going to get through this. Many parents are deciding to turn to homeschool or opting to take an online approach.
Either way, most of your time is going to be spent indoors with your children, how do you find balance?
What Does School and Preschool at Home Look Like?
First, you will want to prepare a space where your child can focus on their schoolwork or do some preschool lessons. A dedicated area will help both you and your child adjust to your new roles.
You do not have to go all out. Your house doesn’t have to look like a classroom. A kitchen table will work fine. For preschool at home, a kid’s size table is a better option.
Clearly communicate with your child that this is the space where you will work together. Collaborate with your child on supplies they will need. Set up an area where the supplies are easily accessible and within your child’s reach.
Help your child feel comfortable in their environment. You can achieve this by inviting them to help you gather the supplies needed for activities.
As your children work, be present with them. Proximity will be your most valuable tool and help reassure them with the transition. You can give them attention by telling them what you see, focusing on their efforts, pin-point progress, and asking questions.
- Be attentive: Encourage them with a helpful, reassuring nod or a small, supportive smile. Doing this informs your child that you’re right there for them.
- Focus on their efforts: Let your child know that their effort did not go unnoticed. You can do this by saying things like, “Even though you were frustrated, you kept working and got through it.”
- Tell them what you see: You did an excellent job focusing when you were tracing that letter. I love that you mixed red and yellow together to make orange for your picture.
- Pin-point their progress: You have already finished five. Only three more to go!
- Ask them questions: Can you tell me about your picture? I wonder what will happen next, what’s your idea?
Form a Routine
Children thrive when you provide them with a routine and structure. Create a routine that will work best for you and your child. Your routine can look different depending on whether you are participating in distance learning or doing a home school route.
Create a daily schedule around either what their teacher sends or the activities that you have planned for the day. Your child can help with their schedule by drawing pictures and creating labels. Hang the schedule somewhere easy to see in your prepared school environment. Having the schedule handy will help you and your child stick to the daily routine.
Here’s an example of a daily routine:
- 7:00-8:00 AM: Your child has free-play time while you take a few moments for yourself and prepare breakfast.
- 8:00-9:00 AM: Eat breakfast and morning routines- get dressed, brush teeth, make beds, etc.
- 9:00 AM: Start your lesson or get on the computer for virtual learning.
- 10:00-11:00 AM: Take a break for snack time and outdoor time. This is the perfect time to start some of the daily household chores. Load and start the dishwasher or put in a load of laundry.
- 11:00-11:30 AM: Have constructive free-play time while you prepare for an activity or complete another household task.
- 11:30-12:30 PM: watch a video that goes with the lesson or work on a themed activity that matches the lesson.
- 12:30-1:30 PM: Lunchtime and more outdoor time if weather permits.
- 1:30-3:00 PM: Quiet time which can be reading, audiobooks, or resting.
- 3:00-3:30 PM: Finish any other work you plan on doing for the day.
Hopefully, this outline will provide you with ideas on how to create one that fits your family’s needs.
Flexibility is Key
We all have off days. Some days you will just have to roll with the punches. Don’t stress it if your routine is thrown off for the day. Another way to be flexible with your schedule is to observe your child.
If you notice your child is enjoying a certain lesson, expand on it. Maybe you will find that they are struggling with a concept, spend a little more time focusing on it.
Your child will reap the benefits and enjoy learning when you observe their strengths and weaknesses. Change your lessons to best suit your child.
You’ll Need to Prioritize
The well-being of your child is your number one priority. Create time for your child to make connections. You can do this by having an open dialog with them about how they are feeling mentally. Have your child connect with their teachers either through text, emails, or video conferences.
Your happiness and well-being is also a priority. It’s impossible to pour from an empty cup. Make the time to practice self-care. Take time to invest in yourself, pencil in your daily workout.
Schedule time for you during the day. Clearly communicate with your child what you need to accomplish and what times you will be doing so. Take the time to check-in with loved ones whether through phone call or FaceTime.
Nothing about our “new normal” is normal. Allow yourself and your child to have a beginner’s mindset. Confidence and competency will develop over time.
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