As we are returning to the world of online home-learning, I would like to share a few tips on staying sane.
1. Live Through Emotions and Accept Them
Allow yourself to be angry, annoyed, and afraid with all the latest developments, let all those words and feelings out (preferably not in front of the children), and allow yourself to cry in the shower or openly discuss matters with your partner, friends and relatives. The more you suppress the feelings, the stronger they might unexpectedly hit you.
2. Set Information Flow Filter
Loads of controversial news are coming daily from different sources: decisions of different governments, restrictions and lockdowns, number of deaths, etc. DO you need all that on daily basis? Maybe better to stick to 1-2 sources of information
3. Keep the Daily Routine Going
In chaotic times all around, a relatively stable schedule helps. Get up and go to bed roughly at the same time, limit your own screen time and let children know that it is not holidays time (yet). Yes, the situation is different again but it is not new for us and we can be united to make things as simple and easy for ourselves. Set the schedule for zooms/online learning/snack breaks/ afternoon activities/ evening time. Make sure everyone is washed and dressed appropriately before the start of the school day (especially for older children).
4. (Re)introduce Exercise
Any exercise is better than no exercise. You can do morning warmups with children, go for a run or a walk, and download various available fitness apps.
5. Be Present in the Moment, Here and Now
Spend some quality time with yourself: have a bath, read a book, take a walk. Just you.
Spend some quality time with kids outside the scope of their studies: dig out board games, play football outside, get on the swing. Even if you think you don’t want, give it a try.
Spend some quality time with your partner. Movie night (even if at home, dinner takeaway when kids are asleep).
6. Daily Briefing on the Development of the Situation
If kids don’t hear it from you, they will fill in the gaps from peers and rumours elsewhere. Have a quick talk at breakfast. Keep it simple, stick to the facts and numbers, discuss the decisions and developments but try to stay cool headed even if you disagree with them.
7. Agree on Family Rules for Gadgets and Screen Time
Screen time is most likely increased. It is understandable. Yet explain the importance of changing the activities and being off screens. Be curious about kids' time with gadgets: kindly and firmly agree that no distraction should be happening during zoom with teachers, that all additional resources are to be explored after the school time is over.
8. Let Children Have a Working Space
Ideally without disturbances, with headphones and enough light to work. Make sure they have all the required papers/pencils/scissors or if children are old enough, check that they have everything prepared.
9. Make Peace With the Limitations on Your Own Work
Accept that you won't be able to work as effectively as you planned to do, with kids at home. Take a critical look at your diary and set the priorities differently, taking into account kids studying from home. Maybe leave grandiose new projects and big life plans for later and keep walking through days with a pace that won't leave you feeling exhausted or guilty.
Better to do a little, but every day. And remember that doing nothing is also very good within reasonable limits.
10. Plan in Mindful Mode
Planning is important so as not to get stuck in a state of uncertainty. The main thing is to do this with the knowledge that everything can change, get canceled, and turned upside down at any moment.
After all, everything passes, and it shall pass too ... Hopefully soon ... Stay healthy