Like many families, we’re facing uncertainty as we approach this new school year. Many schools across the country won’t be immediately reopening for in-person learning. Here in California, we’re gearing up for distance learning. If you had asked me back in the spring, I would have NEVER thought this would be our current situation.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home-mom, work-from-home-mom, or a mom working outside of the home, we all have distance learning challenges. I always try to look at situations from a positive perspective: the cup is half full instead of half empty. I’m trying to remind myself that I can only control what I can control and that I have to make the best of it. But, the truth is, this distance learning thing is HARD.
I know that I have it easier than others since I can work from home. As someone who used to work full time outside of the home, I really sympathize with the parents who need to work outside of their home. That situation is so difficult and I know I am lucky to be able to work from home.
That being said, I (and all of the other work-from-home parents) need to figure out how to work while also managing our children through distance learning. I need to figure out how I can work but also keep my kids on track with their work.
So what is the best way to survive this and still stay sane?
To get started with setting our plan, I asked 2 important questions:
First, I had to consider what worked and what didn’t work for me and my work back in March and April when distance learning first started.
Next, I needed to consider my kids and their personalities and learning styles. I asked them what they felt worked well for each of them.
From asking those questions of myself and my kids, I learned quite a few things. Here are a few of the changes in our home and routines that we’ve made to improve on distance learning this fall. My hope is that these changes will structure and streamline our day to make online distance learning this fall as successful as possible.
3 Changes We’ve Made to Improve Our Distance Learning Plan for Fall
We upgraded some of our furniture. One of the first things the kids mentioned was that their chairs were so uncomfortable it was hard for them to focus. Now, we have more comfortable chairs. The kids will feel good about sitting in them while they participate in their online sessions.
We took steps to make Zoom meetings more comfortable in the kids learning space. We made Zoom areas free from background noises, like TVs and radios by providing headphones for everyone in the home. The kids also mentioned being distracted and sometimes embarrassed by having family members walking around in the background while they were in Zoom meetings. I came up with the idea of having them each decorate their own background. I grabbed them each trifolds and they can decorate them on their own. These give the kids their own personal space. They can also be folded up and put away after school time.
We’ve set routines. I like structure, it helps me keep flowing. Before distance learning, the kids knew their routine and what was expected of them before heading to school. Now, we’re incorporating these routines and structures in the places where we do have control – like before and after their online sessions begin. We’re going to stay consistent until this new normal becomes a routine. Just like when they go to school, they have a daily timeline they are used to so I’m trying to stick to a similar situation at home. My hope is that they’ll be less likely to interrupt me while working if they are into their set routine and schedule.
Hopefully these ideas are helpful for you in setting up your schedule and work spaces at home for distance learning. If your family needs support setting routines and systems in your home, you can check out more of my posts on the topic right here. I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for how your family is planning for smooth distance learning this fall.
Will Smith has become famous almost as much for his parenting and relationships with his children as he has with his music and films. And Will has offered this advice: “Fail Early, Fail Often, Fail Forward.”
The Difficulty in Watching Your Child Fail
As much as we may hate to fail, you have to admit that it’s one of the best ways to learn. This makes total sense to anyone, but to a parent, it can be one of the hardest pieces of advice to take. That’s because it is so hard to see your child fail.
I’m still trying to figure it all out. What I do agree with, though, is that it’s one of the best life lessons that we can give to our kids. Learning at a young age that part of life is to live and learn will be invaluable to them later on.
Failing in a Safe Environment
If you’re still hesitant about letting your child fail, here’s something else to think about: By allowing them to make mistakes now and fail at things while they’re young, you’re letting them do all of this in a “controlled environment.”
You will have them under direct supervision so you can intervene before anything gets out of hand. It also gives you an opportunity after they fail to talk with them about the experience. They need to see this as a learning opportunity, and the best way to do that is to talk with them.
There Are Limits to What You Can Allow Your Kids to Fail
I’m not talking about letting them do anything crazy like allowing them to carry on with activities that will cause them injury. You aren’t going to watch your kid, about to touch a hot stove, and let him do it just to prove a point. I’m talking about things where it’s not critical to rush to their side to save them from having to experience the consequences of their choices.
Let me explain this a little better with an example with my daughter. She had a bad habit of forgetting her school lunch. It used to be that I would always come to her rescue and “save her” by bringing her lunch to her.
My Personal Example of Allowing My Child to Fail
I eventually got really fed up with doing this ALL THE TIME. So, I told her that I was no longer going to bring lunch to her. Now, if she forgets her lunch at home, she will have to eat the school’s “Emergency Lunch” and pay the $6-$7 for the lunch out of her own money.
One day, on the way out, I saw her lunch bag on the counter. I had to resist the urge to just tell her about it. But let’s just say that after she had to pay for her own lunch that day, she has not forgotten her lunch again.
The Lesson Learned from Failure Stays With Your Child
This may be more on the trivial side when you compare it to other things they will ultimately be faced with. But one thing is certain: they’re learning and are aware they have to deal with the consequences of their actions. The results of their choices (both those they make and those they fail to make) have costs they have to pay.
Part of growing up is experiencing things for yourself, both the good and the bad. If you keep them in a bubble and protect them from the realities of the world, it’s going to be much harder on them when they have to face reality later in life. They have to develop the skills to cope with this now, so they’ll be ready later on.
Who would have thought that almost 15 years ago, after creating a Match.com profile, that I would meet the best husband and father to my kids a gal could ever ask for?
I mean, when you have a husband whose motto is, “Happy mama, happy life”, he’s gotta be a keeper right?
I remember filling out my profile and putting in all the details of what I was looking for.
We still joke around to this day about how I only married him because he was 5’10”. (For some reason, I always ended up being with the shorter guys in the past and I was beyond ready to be with a guy where I could wear heels if I wanted to!)
All jokes aside though, when you have a man in your life who:
– Lives to make sure you and the kids are safe and taken care of first
– Doesn’t mind letting you sleep in
– Gives you a day off without the kids to relax when you need it
– Helps to cook, clean AND take care of the kids even after a long shift at work
– Supports you in all your crazy endeavors,
– Loves teaching and spending time with the kids building things
– Believes parenting is not just reserved for the “SAHM” or stay at home mom. There is no “I’ve had a long day at work so now I’ll just plop down on the sofa and watch some tv while dinner is being cooked and after dinner, I’ll just take a nap while you bathe and put the kids to bed”.
To all the men who are ALL of this and more, Happy Father’s Day!!
We love and appreciate all that you do for us! ?
And to all the women, husbands like this do exist!
It would make parenting so much easier if they gave an instruction manual on your way home from the hospital. Unfortunately, this is the epitome of learning “on the job” and there are lots of times where you may feel like you’re screwing up.
No matter how frustrated you may get, it’s very important to keep your emotions in check and not let your kids see you doing certain things when you get upset.
Here are three things in particular that I’ve stopped doing to my kids when I’m upset and, trust me, it’s made a huge difference in our family life.
1. Yelling at them
As a result of lack of sleep and dealing with two little ones, it became way too easy to get upset letting my temper flair and start yelling. Unfortunately, this usually just adds fuel to the fire of the situation.
With younger kids, they can either just tune you out, or become legitimately terrified of your temper. With older kids and teens, they’re more likely to start yelling back which then starts a back-and-forth escalation that isn’t going to do anyone any good.
Once in a while, I will slip and raise my voice a little too loud and my kids will say to me “why are you yelling mom?”. There’s nothing like having your kid to remind you of your no yelling rule.
2. Disciplining in the moment
It’s natural for you to get angry with your children and fly off the handle when you’re disciplining them. But, once you make a proclamation, such as “You are grounded for a month,” then you’ve set the tone for how this is going to play out.
You can’t go back and realize that maybe a month is too long and then let them off the hook later on. When you do that, they take your discipline less seriously and are more likely to get in trouble again because they figure you will just back down.
Instead, tell them that you will discuss their behavior later when you’ve calmed down. Then, you can come back to have a rational conversation about their behavior. This will help them when it comes to modifying their actions and it will keep your blood pressure from blowing up!
3. Sending them to time out
Time outs became really popular a decade ago or so, but let’s face it, they’re just not cutting it in a lot of situations. Instead, if your child is throwing a tantrum, tell them they cannot do whatever it was that they were doing until they’ve calmed down.
If they blow-up while playing a game, tell them that the game gets put away until they stop having a meltdown. This will usually fix the situation and you can then address things later when you’ve both calmed down.
If they continue, ignore them. The tantrum is meant to be an acting out that will get attention. If you don’t feed into this, then it’s like denying oxygen to a fire. It will go out on its own pretty quickly.
Staying calm when you are upset with your children can be a difficult thing. But you can’t let your temper flare out of control. Remember, you are modeling behavior that will fuel their actions for years to come. Instead, take a deep breath and try to handle things calmly and rationally.
Today, there’s not much we can all agree on it seems if you look at social media or the news.
Well, there’s something that 100% of the moms we asked said they ALL want for their Mother’s Day. Can you guess what it is?
First, we reached out to moms with little ones at home. They were kind enough to take time out of their busy day to give us their responses.
We asked: What do you most want for your Mother’s Day?
Below we share their actual responses, but it is unanimous that each mom wants one thing: TIME.
That precious commodity that we never get enough of as moms (and really anyone these days, but especially moms). Our time is not our own. We do for others and make sure the lives of our loved ones are easier and consistent by the daily actions we take to keep things going.
There were variations of each moms answer as to what they would do with the time given but each one asked for time not on the mom clock so they can spend it how they like for just one day.
So, for the husbands and kids out there, here are a few tips from our mom poll on how you can make your mom feel special and appreciated on Mother’s Day:
Offer to cook breakfast for your wife/mom (be sure to let her sleep in first!)
Do the dishes, take out the trash and any other chores she typically does
Does she like massages or getting her nails done? Schedule a pamper session for her!
Make a homemade card with your heartfelt thoughts about how wonderful your mom/wife is.
Know something special your mom really appreciates? Whatever it is – do it!
It’s not hard and it isn’t costly to show the mom in your life just how amazing she really is. Want to know exactly what our moms said they want for their Mother’s Day? Watch the video below:
If you’re like me, then you probably like to limit screen time for your kids. Spending time with your kids can be a healthy activity getting everyone off the couch and active outdoors. If your children know that you value activity, they’re more likely to value it themselves.
Here’s a couple fun outdoor activities that our family likes and can get your whole family spending an active time together:
This is a simple one when you don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing or having to do a lot of serious physical activity. Keep a supply of sidewalk chalk in your supply closet!
Let your child’s inner artist come out and when the rain washes it away you can start all over. If you really want to get jumping, sketch out a hopscotch grid and go to town.
Our family enjoys biking our neighborhood trail whenever we get the chance. It brings a calm to our hectic schedules. Sometimes if time and weather permit, we’ll go to the beach and ride our bikes along the trails there. I realize not everyone lives close to the beach but it can be fun riding along a canal or other body of water in your city!
Here are a few ideas that we haven’t tried ourselves but look really fun. We are adding them to our list and hope to do them really soon!
This is a great activity that’s been going on since 2000. Currently, there are millions of geocaches hidden around the world.
You can download the app and then follow your GPS on an outdoor adventure to locate this “hidden treasure.” Once you find it, you sign the log and know that you’ve accomplished something and had a chance to bond along the way.
Many local communities have weekend farmer’s markets. You can walk around outdoors and check out the incredible produce the local farmers have to offer. It’s a good way to introduce your kids to fresh fruits and veggies and instill in them a belief in supporting local businesses and independent growers.
This one caught on with college students years ago, but it’s one that the whole family can really enjoy. Some people buy all kinds of frisbees to play with, but you really only need a few that you can pick up at the dollar store. You can even make your own “course” in your backyard by designating a goal and having everyone see who can get the closest to it with their frisbee.
That’s just a few things you can do to get your kids moving and involved in the outdoors. Sure, they may complain about bug bites, the heat, or a few cuts and scrapes along the way, but those can be taken care of easily and everyone will enjoy spending time together.