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Back to School: Juggling Work and School in the Face of COVID-19

COVID-19 has impacted people around the world in so many ways. As the new school year is getting underway, many working parents find that they will be homeschooling their children once again, at least for a little while. Let’s face it; working from home has its challenges, especially with children added to the equation. Adding homeschool to an already challenging situation may create another level of stress and anxiety. Here are some ways to help keep everyone happy and sane at the start of this school year.  

Make a schedule

While it’s nice to sleep in a bit more and have some flexibility during this time of social distancing, it’s essential to keep a consistent schedule. This may mean waking up earlier to allow for some homeschooling before you even start your workday. Some may find it easier to start and end their work very early to focus on school at the end of the day. Everyone’s schedule is different based on the needs of their employer and family. The critical thing to remember is to establish a routine that works and try to stick to it. Most people, children especially, thrive on routine, structure and managed expectations.

Ask for help

Many of us hate asking for help. Pride can be a big factor in this, or maybe we feel guilty and don’t want to impose on others. Whatever the reason, a global pandemic is a perfect time to change that mindset and ask for help. If you have a partner that can help, this is the time to discuss how to divide and conquer daily tasks. Single parents have an even bigger challenge on their hands. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends are all great resources to help. It could be as simple as having someone watch your kids for a few hours, twice-a-week. Maybe it’s hiring a tutor to help with homeschooling. Now is the time to think about who can help and how, while keeping safety practices in place.

Give yourself a break 

There’s never been a better time to throw your preconceived parenting playbook out the window. When it comes to feeling like you did all the “right” things as a parent, some days will be better than others. Some days will be downright abysmal. Maybe you had no patience and snapped a lot. Or you let your child eat whatever they wanted for lunch. Try to cut yourself some slack. It’s not easy to be home every day with cooped-up children who are also frustrated with their lack of options and social life. While it is essential to create a healthy home environment, and a productive routine for your kids, lower your expectations of how this will play out. Do the best you can, and don’t be too hard on yourself on the bad days. 

Take time for yourself

Juggling work, children, school and regular household duties is a lot for anyone. Oftentimes, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself! As hard as it is to pull away from obligations, it’s important to take time for yourself every day. This could be as simple as waking up a half-hour before your children get up to enjoy some coffee and quiet time. It could also be something like meditating for 5-10 minutes throughout the day. Other healthy activities include going for a walk in the evening, exercising, or reading a book. Be sure to do activities that help lower your stress levels every day.

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