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.
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!
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.
Before having kids, I’d always heard of people talking about soccer moms—those harried suburban women with a mini-van full of kids having to run back and forth transporting them from practices to games.
I wasn’t sure that would ever by me. But now, after having kids of my own, I’m not a soccer mom. Instead, I’m a softball mom and, at one point, when my son was playing, also a baseball mom.
Peak season in the springtime usually meant practice and/or games 2-3 days a week. That was busy enough but when you pull in games on the weekends, you can see your life getting chaotic and out of control.
So, on any given day, you have to pick up the kids from school, have them scarf down a quick snack, start on their homework, go to practice, get back home, cook them dinner, feed them, and then they have to shower, finish their homework and maybe, just maybe, you can get them to bed at a decent hour.
So, how do we help our children do all of this? The first thing you’re going to need is a giant calendar.
I know, apps work well, too. But for a lot of people, having a big physical calendar is still the best way to go so you can physically see it without opening your phone and going down the rabbit-hole of technology distractions.
List all the events you have as soon as you get the schedule. Put up the practice dates, games, and other school events and see if there’s going to be any time left for other events. You don’t want to over schedule yourself and burn out even more!
Include one very specific thing for you and your family—some quality family time.
Make sure that at least once a week you’re taking a break from all the insanity and spending time without any sports. Watch a movie. Have a quiet dinner together. Do whatever you can but enjoy yourself with your kids.
And lastly, remember that the crockpot can be your friend. You don’t have to kill yourself cooking on top of all the running around and shuttling that you have to do. A slow cooker can help you set up a nutritious meal without having to spend hours slaving behind the steering wheel and over the stove.
When your little darling has an accident that results in an X ray and a confirmed fracture or break, you’re most likely worried about their pain. But then, the doctor says, “He needs to rest and be still for three weeks.” And you think, “Oh crap!” What about all the activities you’ve scheduled (and paid for?), what about school, what about your job? We break it down for you.
Depending on which little part they busted, mom and dad are going to have to dive in, facilitating with teeth brushing, getting dressed, hair combing, and possibly toilet time. The age of your child is also a factor. Some kids may regress or get frustrated when you have to help them, others may like the help because at least they don’t have you nagging them if they did it properly.
Dealing with a Non-Waterproof Cast
Not all kids get a hard, waterproof cast, so bathing and showering may become less relaxing than it used to be. After bathing, you may want to turn a hair dryer on cool and blow it through the openings of the cast, just to zap any unwanted moisture which may result in itching.
Something to look forward to, the cast is really going to be rancid when it comes off. And the skin underneath is going to look pale and wrinkly and feel squishy.
Adjusting After the Cast is Removed
Even when you make it to the finish line and it’s time to buzz the cast off, be prepared for an adjustment period when your child’s muscles and tendons need to regain strength and flexibility. Or you may have a rocket launch who looks like they never missed a beat.
The Fluff Stuff
Pillows are your kid’s friends. Prop till you drop. Maybe dig out your maternity sleeping pillow from storage. Keeping your kid comfy round-the-clock is key to whomever is caring for him/her.
Bust out the Sharpies! Why not stick some googly eyes on the cast and make it look like a pet? Decorating casts is a thing on Pinterest. You can get creative with crutches and arm slings, too. Some parents have gone uber cute and made little casts for their child’s stuffed animals. Misery loves company!
Communicate with Caregivers
Make sure you communicate with school and caregivers about what your child can and cannot do. If she can walk around and get fresh air at recess that’s better than sitting in the lunch room reading.
If your patient is home-bound, it’s time to line up some playdates. Who’s going to be good at playing cards, coloring, Legos, Mad Libs and board games? Who’s better at chilling in front of a good movie? Thankfully, your child’s brain doesn’t have to go to mush while they’re looking part-mummy. Reading, audio books and educational apps can keep your child and their company feeling enlightened.