HOW TO WORK AND SCHOOL FROM HOME SUCCESSFULLY
A lot of parents have been coming to us for guidance on how to work and school from home successfully. We’ve been busy solving some related space issues, but most of our work has focused on how to reign in the new Coronavirus chaos and bring down stress levels at home.
With everyone now indoors trying to do all the things they need to do each day, many people are experiencing constant interruption and blurred lines between household and job responsibilities. Because routines are off, a plan to combat this is a must! Following a loose structure daily will help your family stay organized and lessen tension.
In search of solutions, we’ve put a lot of thought into what contributes to all this chaos – everyone’s entire lives changing overnight, significantly increased parental oversight and reliance, technical struggles, children not understanding what is happening in the world or that parents need space to work too, difficulties maintaining “normalcy,” etc.
Here is our recommendation for navigating home, school and work during this difficult time. It might sound like a lot at first, but after a solid week of committing to these habits, we promise it will become second-nature as you fine-tune this system for your family day by day.
Consider something like this to begin on a Sunday night:
At dinner, have a one-time discussion about the new House Schedule protocol.
After dinner, each family member makes and shares a list of what they have scheduled for Monday and what needs to be accomplished. Then, each family member shares it - this is critically important to get everyone on the same page about individual work that needs to be done and to set proper expectations.
Collaborate on the scheduled priorities and set scheduled breaks, similar to what kids have at school - like a morning recess, lunch and an afternoon break. Pending parental needs, maybe Mom does morning "recess" and Dad does afternoon "break" where you can stretch or go for a quick walk (something beneficial to both parties is a great use of this time), or you can set a block of time for kids to do a brainless/relaxing/fun activity on their own inside or outside for 20 minutes, setting a timer if helpful. Parents should set their own breaks to help maintain focus throughout the day if you can't do these breaks together.
Schedule lunch. Lunch together is ideal whenever possible, as it will give kids a little bit of your time (social activity) before they go back to being on their own, but as long as it's scheduled for children around the same time every day, that's great too. Parents should discuss who will handle breakfast/lunch making - maybe this is the same everyday (pending scheduled calls, etc.)?
Discuss what preparations need to be made tonight (and discuss why), in order to be prepared for tomorrow. Each family member then takes 15 minutes to go make those preparations (set a timer!). Reconvene after the 15 minutes and each family member shares how they've prepared for Monday. This will help your kids to realize that everyone has their own responsibilities which will help these habits stick. There are lots of real-life learning opportunities in the why and how sharing, but it will also give your kids an understanding of why parents need uninterrupted time too. Since the kids will have their own schedule for the day now, they should (for the most part) be pretty self-sufficient.
Discuss what happens when school ends - this could be homework, puzzles etc. and should, ideally, be done in your kids’ rooms or outside until the workday is done for everyone. Sticking to this general rule will be incredibly helpful, but there's obviously room for flexibility if Mom or Dad is done early to, maybe, go do something outside together so that the other parent can continue to work - or perhaps one parent transfers to a work area with privacy while “after-school” happens.
Discuss what time everyone will wake up and what time breakfast will be (just like you would if the kids were in school).
Monday (and daily thereafter for the week):
Everyone adheres to what was established the night before, with kids and parents working in separate areas.
At the end of the day, it's time to go outside, play a game or do something together (again, if one parent has to continue to work, they should shift to a private area with specific instructions for children). This is critical social time which your children no doubt desperately miss!
Over dinner, briefly review all lists and what was accomplished. And maybe each person mentions something they are grateful for. This will celebrate and build positivity for the teamwork that is being done every single day (which can certainly feel like a week sometimes!).
After dinner, each family member makes and shares a new list for Tuesday and the same steps are taken: lists made, breaks set, preparations made, "after school" planned, wake-up time/breakfast set.
This will get easier and faster as you get accustomed to it – we promise – so try not to get overwhelmed. And if your kids resist, gently resist their resistance. Your work and sanity depend on it! The structure will bring calm and peace to the days indoors, again, because you would normally have a day somewhat mapped out like this. Hence, these lists and such planning are essential!
We highly recommend printing the PDF below for the first Sunday dinner (it includes the cheat sheet for subsequent dinners until the system sticks). When it does, please give us your feedback! We’d love to share your successes or suggestions on social media.
We're not claiming this will work for all families, but it's worth a shot. It may not go perfectly, but it has been immensely helpful for a number of our clients. If we can help you address family-specific issues, we’re certainly happy to do so. In the meantime, we hope you are taking a break from expectations and giving yourself permission for things to be a bit "off" right now. Everyone is trying their best just to maintain sanity and positivity, so be kind to yourself in your words and actions.
Owner, LIFE reorganized
HOUSE SCHEDULE PROTOCOL
©2020 by LIFE reorganized.