Student Parents raising students at home

10 tips to make your life easier

This is a climate of uncertainty in our world.  It is disruptive and scary. The shelter in place and social distancing has made managing online classes especially difficult for the students here at Fresno Pacific. This situation creates added stress for students with children.  It has challenged our student parents with navigating this new teaching dynamic not only for themselves but also for their children. How do we navigate essays, research work, Zoom classes, and other forms of coursework while needing to help with their kids’ homework, making meals, doing chores, and keeping children entertained? Here are a few ideas to help you.

  1. Set a schedule to help with time management. This will directly involve working with both your schedule and the schedule your children need.  Usually your children are already used to having a specific schedule based on their class day. Attempting to replicate this at home can be useful in helping your child stay more focused on their homework and daily lesson-related responsibilities.  It is possible that you will need to set up activities for your children while you are attending Zoom sessions.There are many free apps for your children. Some apps I would suggest are: Happy Art, Virtual McArt, SkillShare, Khan University and Epic (there is a small fee for this one but it offers a large library for various age ranges and reading levels). 
  2.  Always make time for your children to play outside, unless the weather is bad. Riding bikes or scooters is popular, but you can still observe social distancing at a local park as long as you make sure to use hand sanitizer and wash your hands both before and after playing. If the weather is poor you may have a covered patio they can play under. Sidewalk chalk is a great activity, or set up a table and let them play with kinetic sand, playdough or slime. Something simple would be putting a blanket on the cement and playing with toys on the ground. Anything to get them out of the house while still respecting social distancing.
  3. When you need to do housework or prepare meals try to involve your children in the activity. Even the simple tasks kids enjoy. They like to feel as if they are helping and contributing. Let them help you dust or vacuum. Let them help you chop vegetables. Teaching them how to do these tasks gives them a sense of accomplishment and gives them valuable tools for later in life.
  4. For older kids who are more independent, you will want to keep a close eye on their assigned work. Set a time with them to sit down and go over what they have. Many schools have an online platform that keeps parents informed about grades and instructor notes. Utilize these tools to help you work with your student to help them stay on track while they remain out of school. 
  5. Create a quiet time schedule with your children. This can be reward based. They can earn stickers that lead to any given award you choose. This quiet time will be however you choose and it should be utilized for homework, writing essays, reading work, anything that you need to focus specifically on what you need to complete for your coursework. Rewards are very effective for school-age children. This quiet time may also be scheduled around nap time with your younger children.
  6. Set aside time to complete homework with your school-age child. Don’t try and overwhelm them with all of it at once so you can have more free time during the week. This can actually create a bigger battle in the long run. Doing a little each day will be successful.
  7. Take time to be a family. You need to take a break from work and so do your children. Play a board game or watch a family movie. Whatever brings you all together and is fun is really important during this difficult time. Being “stuck” with each other can be frustrating, but if you can take time to just enjoy each other it can also be a blessing.
  8. Get help from your older children. Often they may be able to help your school-age children with homework. They can also help with chores, or with housework, or baby-sitting while you complete homework. Depending on your situation, you could set up an allowance with your older children for these extra responsibilities.
  9. It can be extra tough to have a young toddler home while you are trying to continue your remote learning. You will need to tailor most of your learning environment around their schedule. If you have Zoom classes, you might want to contact your instructor and inform them that you have a young child that may be awake and in the room while you are in a Zoom session. Informing the instructor ahead of time will make them aware once class starts.
  10. Finally, keep those who are directly effected by this epidemic. If you are a family who prays, pray for those who are ill.  Also pray for the family, doctors, nurses and medical staff who are caring for the ill. Pray for those who have been lost.
  11. These tips are just a few ideas that we can suggest to help you through this time. We at the Syrinx want to acknowledge that all our student parents are amazing and can get through this as stronger people.

Author: Janelle Fontaine

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