For many, this new life of working from home while school-age kids try to learn from home is a “learning opportunity” to say the least. I’m fortunate to have a mature and fairly reliable 12-year-old, but even we have stumbled a bit over the last week as we figure out how to practice what we preach. Now that we’re one week in, we’ve agreed on a few tips to keep our sanity this week. For those who are still figuring this out, we hope this helps to learn from our mistakes!
5 Schooling From Home Tips from Rai
#1 Take a Break Every Hour to Stretch and Walk Around
It’s far too easy to get sucked into a series of videos for science and suddenly realize it’s time for lunch and your neck is killing you.
# 2 Stay Hydrated
There’s nothing worse than getting a headache and still having to stare at a screen. Get something to drink during your breaks.
#3 Find a Relaxing Way to Sit
If you have to sit for hours in your room, make it relaxing with a blanket, comfy clothes, and a relaxing place in your house to sit.
#4 Learn to Ask for Help
Everyone is figuring this out for the first time, so be quick to ask for help whether its from a parent or the teacher. What is confusing you could be as simple as a mistake by the teacher when he or she was trying to throw content up quickly, and it doesn’t help anyone if you get frustrated and stuck.
#5 Relax on the Weekends
Learning from home is stressful for everyone. Teachers are figuring out the right amount of information to give, and we’re figuring out how to squeeze everything in during school hours. On weekends, you really need a break to reset. I play video games and talk with my friends, and even help my mom outside so she can get a break, too.
5 Working from Home Tips from Mom
#1 Practice What You Preach: Take a Lunch Break
As a mom, it’s hard to watch your kids struggle. The first day we made it through our joint work-from-home schedules, Rai looked at me and said, “I don’t know how you sit at a computer all day long!” I laughed and then realized, we were both making the same mistake of sitting in one place hyperfocused for too long, so we instituted a lunch hour (or 30 minutes) to check in with one another and share tips. Not only does it ensure we’re both eating lunch, but it also gives me a few minutes to “Mom” proactively.
#2 Make Time to Plan at Breakfast
Once we got a lunch-time routine down, breakfast became an easy second routine to work out. We use it to plan for the day, including when to break for lunch, and what are the 3 most important things to do for the day. It gives both of us some accountability for the other and ensures we’re not trying to kill ourselves doing everything by the end of our school and work days.
#3 Prioritize Your Accomplishments for the Day
It’s far too easy to get caught in a day full of meetings and spend too much time at the end of the day trying to get everything finished. I have time blocks for my priorities but don’t always hold these sacred. As soon as I caught my son stressing out and still work on school after school hours, we agreed on the morning planning time to commit to our top 3 (not 8 because you have 8 classes), and hold each other accountable by lunch and the end of our school & work day. The focus gives us some sanity by the end of the day and an easier time being honest with ourselves.
#4 When You’re Offline, Stay Offline
A great leader once warned his organization that if you check your email on weekends, be prepared to work on the weekend. His words of warning were based on the concept that once you re-engage with work, it takes time to disengage, and you’re more likely to just start working. I’ve made this mistake a few times, but it’s become a hard and fast rule since we’ve both started this remote routine. I’m all for homework, but this isn’t the time to voluntarily start when the school day is already so stressful that your child creates Tip #5 Relax on Weekends.
#5 Transform Your Own Workspace
My role gives me flexibility to work from home regularly when I’m not on a client site, so I had a bit of a head start here. If you’re going to be stuck in one place for an 8-hour day, make it conducive to work while not adding stress to your day. My desk has a window view, so I’m not facing the rest of the house, and I regularly use a screen behind me to avoid everyone on video conference getting distracted images behind me. The dogs are always close by, so we’ve moved some dog beds just under my feet, and I always ensure I have flexibility to step away from my desk if I need to focus on a task that doesn’t require dual monitors.
Overall, we’re both practicing what we preach to one another and being a little more patient as we all figure this out.
What has worked in your family?