It’s 2021, and the COVID-19 health emergency is getting better in some regions but still going strong in some parts of the world. Likely, remote work and school models will continue into parts of the world for a long time. For working parents, we are moving forward and there is a light at the end of this very dark tunnel. Still, many working parents and caregivers are struggling and so overwhelmed.. You want the best for your child educationally, but you also need to get your work done so that you can stay employed.At times it feels like we are performing a balancing act and boy has this left us FRIED! There is a way to cut the overwhelm and it’s about prioritizing and organizing.
Find Your Village
If we’ve learned nothing else during 2020 and 2021, it’s that we will get through this together if we work together. Create your own village, people who have the same beliefs as you and live near you. You learned to create your pod so that you can work together and rotate childcare, giving everyone a much needed break and I hope this “lean on each other way” will remain.
As members of the same village, you can also look for a nanny or tutor to help manage your children’s care and educational needs or even drive to events. Splitting the cost with a few other families can help alleviate the financial burdens as a way to help reduce the emotional burdens you’re dealing with.
Make a Plan
We just made it through a long haul and we likely will continue some hybrid learning in 2021-2022 and working from home may be your new norm. Hopefully, you learned that creating detailed plans for days and weeks can help you manage the need to shift between work and childcare throughout the day. While remote learning schedules may be fairly stable, we know that work schedules can change from day-to-day or even hour-to-hour.
Starting with “what you know” and planning around that is the first step to creating balance. If you know that every Tuesday at 12pm you have a 1:1 meeting, make sure that you have an activity planned for your child during that time period. Then, make sure your child knows what it is. For example, you can buy a special coloring book or toy that your child can only use during times when you need to focus on work. By making it special, kids will look forward to these times, rather than feeling like they need to get your attention.
The goal of the plan is to create reasonable expectations for your child. By giving them a daily outline of when you can help them, you reduce the amount of “mental noise,” or overstimulation from too much cognitive input. This can help both you and your child stay focused when you need to be.
For those kids and teens where virtual learning is continuing in some way shape or form, you want to check out my virtual learning checklist for kids and if you have older kids, check out my virtual learning checklist for teens.
Ultimately, it is about putting structure and routine into your work day so you can actually create time for healthy routines.
Create a Daily Schedule
Kids and teens need boundaries and routines. Whether you’re using a digital or creating a manual schedule, creating a daily schedule helps your child stay on task and gives you a way to block out time to spend with them.
One client, at the beginning of quarantine, realized that her child was interrupting her and her partner every ten minutes. After a week, she set up several “Pick a Parent” breaks throughout the day. By scheduling specific times that her child could choose a grownup for attention and socialization, she and her partner were able to schedule work meetings around these times, giving their kid what they needed.
For younger children, make sure that you create a schedule that meets them where they are by using pictures and colors. Also, you want to make sure that you keep in mind the topics your child struggles with. If your child struggles with math or reading, make sure that you schedule any independent work on those topics during times you can be available to help.
We all know that Zoom is no substitute for the playground, but kids need to interact with their peers. Even though kids are spending too much time on technology during the quarantine, parents can feel good that when kids are interacting with other kids online that it is actually good for their mental health. Passive scrolling has actually been found to be detrimental to children’s mental health.
For parents, virtual meetings are continuing. All day Zoom meetings aren’t healthy for you too. Switch it to a phone call and hop on your exercise bike whenever you can. Sitting all day isn’t good for our physical and mental health. Prior to the pandemic we did a lot more phone calls and it is up to you to set the boundaries and prioritize your physical health too,
Set Screen Time Boundaries
We get it. You’ve been limiting screen time because you want to follow best parenting practices. But, we were in the middle of a global health crisis which means that it’s ok to give yourself the grace necessary to get things done.
Technology is here to stay so let’s focus on incorporating technology that improves physical and mental health. Technology isn’t bad and we parents worry a lot about technology usage and what I worry about is what are kids missing out on when they are on their devices too much. Well, physical activity is something that they are definitely missing out on! Devices such as Xplora which gamifies physical activity for kids.
Regardless of the age of your kid, you need to set clear guidelines for how much screen time your child can have every day. If possible, try to clearly label screen times in your daily schedule. This is so important because it really cuts down on screen time battles.
Also, if your child plays video games like Minecraft, see if you can get them set up on virtual playdates with these games. For example, you can let your child set up their own Minecraft server and invite their friends to play. Let the kids talk on the phone or videoconference while playing. This makes the screen time less about the video game and more about socializing.
Use Devices to Manage Technology Usage
I am a huge fan of using technology to manage technology. I am an even bigger fan of using technology to help kids manage their own technology time. I personally use a device that gives my kids a certain amount of wifi time for the day and when it is done, my kids run out of time. They have learned to budget their technology usage and those technology time battles are virtually over.
Think About Healthy Technology Usage
This has been one of the biggest struggles during the pandemic, balancing screen time with your work and all those other learning, physical and emotional needs of your kid and family. I feel like every parent out there deserves a purple star! There is a difference in the quality of technology usage. Focus on interactive technology versus passive usage. Here are my best tips for healthy technology usage.
When in Doubt? Follow Your Gut and Give Yourself Grace
No one expects parents and caregivers to be perfect in normal times, but during the current pandemic, you need to believe that you know what’s best for your child. Nothing is normal, and no parent can be expected to act like it’s normal.
In the end, balancing work and remote learning is just difficult. Knowing that you’re doing your best to meet your child’s needs is the most anyone can ask of you – including yourself. Give yourself the grace to accept that you can be flexible and that nothing can be perfect in this imperfect world.
For more resources on how to balance remote work and learning, check out our ebook.
What is the Impact of Technology on Kids?
There has been a definite impact on the mental and physical health of kids after many months of virtual learning. We have long known that too much technology can impact the physical and mental health of our kids. It is more about what they are missing out on then the technology itself.
I dive into what the research says about the impact of virtual learning on children and teens in this BLOG. Ultimately, we need to be PROACTIVE and not wait for our kids to be in distress before getting them help.
Every parent has the ability to support their child’s mental health regardless of age or difficulty. With greater the difficulty and the longer the issues, yes a parent has to concentrate their efforts and get clinical help but my book, “It’s Gonna Be OK!™” is the resource for parents to improve their child’s mental health.
Are you looking for help for your child’s or teen’s behavior?
Boy, the world is stressful right now (and it has been for a long time!). Of course, you are worried about your child’s stress level! You want to see them SUCCEED and be confident. Your child may be struggling with focus, stress, mood, behavior, emotions, or socially and you aren’t sure what to do about it and you feel STUCK… Well, Dr. Roseann is here to show you how to GET UNSTUCK and cultivate success in small and big ways!
As a licensed therapist and certified psychologist, as well as a special needs mom herself, Dr. Roseann knows what it is like to search for ways to help your child’s attention, learning, and behavior and still see your child struggle. So, if you’ve gone down the Google MD and ineffective medication and therapy rabbit hole, it is time to get support from Dr. Ro who can help you help your child to be focused, calm, and feel good about themselves.
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Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of media outlets including, CBS, NBC, FOX News, PIX11 NYC, The New York Times, The Washington Post,, Business Insider, USA Today, CNET, Marth Stewart, and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.”
She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Medicine Mental Health Provider (CMHIMP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach. She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) and The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB).
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