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How School Closures Can Strengthen Your Family

When Busy Is No Longer An Option

We now find ourselves having a lot of time in our hands to catch up on our exercise, sleep, reading and even to slow-cook our food. This is unsettling for many of us, as being busy is a lifestyle everyone is used to for decades. Now it is time to find meaning in our lives with all the time we have suddenly.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How School Closures Can Strengthen Your Family

How School Closures Can Strengthen Your Family

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_school_closures_can_strengthen_your_family

greatergood.berkeley.edu

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Key Ideas

Making The Most Out Of Isolation

Some practical ways by which parents can cope up with this reality of being at home with kids in these uncertain and chaotic times:

  1. Create a specific time and place around the house for work and home activities.
  2. Connect with your family.
  3. Embrace and make the most of not being busy.

Working At Home With Kids

Parents and adults need to work at home and kids need to study to finish their semesters, but it’s hard to work with kids due to constant distractions and multitasking. 

Provide specific times and places for everyone in the family to do the required work. Get everyone to work in shifts or help out at certain times, like your partner or a neighbor.

Being Present With The Family

We humans need our family and social connections to feel safe. The little joys of staying and doing things together in a family make our stress and loneliness disappear. For too long we have been eating dinner in front of the PC with our kids busy with their devices with the headphones on. It’s time to stop being alone together and be together instead.

When Busy Is No Longer An Option

We now find ourselves having a lot of time in our hands to catch up on our exercise, sleep, reading and even to slow-cook our food. This is unsettling for many of us, as being busy is a lifestyle everyone is used to for decades. Now it is time to find meaning in our lives with all the time we have suddenly.

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Remote work and children

Many working parents are facing working from home with kids and without access to babysitters, playdates, and even Grandma-dates that you might generally rely on.

It won't be smooth sailing ...

Get Creative With Your Schedule

If you have another adult home with you, consider a split schedule: At the beginning of each day, decide who will be the 'on point' parent. That person will work at the dining room table, feed the kids and suggest activities, while the other parent works in a different room.

One parent can also work before the children are awake, then you can stagger work times during the day, and the other parent can work when the children are in bed.

Be Up Front With Your Boss

Before you make adjustments to your work schedule in order to watch your children, talk to your boss or HR.

Let them know that your transition to home also means being responsible for your children. Create a schedule that you can share with your boss and assure them of your commitment to maintaining the level of excellence they expect.

If you clearly communicate your needs, you will decrease the level of stress and also open the door for coworkers to follow suit.

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Communicating with your partner

  • Don’t make assumptions about how the other person feels.
  • Foster mindful communication, especially if you’re feeling scared or upset. Pay attention to your reactions.
  • Accept ...

Open dialogue

Most of us have never experienced circumstances like the current one, so we have to accept that we will all cope with this differently and that’s okay.
Foster open dialogue and try to be as clear as possible with each member of your family or with your partner. 

For the whole family

  • Establish a routine to avoid randomness. Our brains love patterns.
  • We are going to stay inside for a while, so it's best to set family goals and expectations.
  • Designate areas of the house, such as ‘work’, ‘chill-out’, ‘privacy’ and ‘interaction’.
  • Don’t avoid answering kids' questions about the pandemic and what is causing it.

Self-isolation and parenting

Parenting while practicing self-isolation is not about doing everything a hundred percent all the time. It's about doing as much as you possibly can.

Something is better than nothing,...

It's really, really hard

It's hard to work from home and parent. Working from home full time during regular workday hours, care for your children, and sprinkle in a mix of homeschooling, is essentially asking parents to do multiple full-time jobs simultaneously.

  • Many parents relax screen time rules for now.
  • Get on a schedule if you find it helpful, or refuse to feel guilty for lack of a schedule.
  • Set up many FaceTime and Zoom dates with your friends and your kid's friends, and grandparents.
  • Understanding the situation of working-from-home-parents will go a long way by not holding their diminished productivity against them.
  • If you're a manager, there's no harm in announcing at the beginning of your conference call that it's OK if there are little voices from time to time.

Explaining the unsure future to children.

  • It is best to be honest when you have to talk about when a child will be going back to school or reschedule their birthday party when you don't know yourself.
  • You can say that some scientists think it would be a few months, but you don't really know yet. Then ask them how they feel about that and if they have questions. See what information you can find together.

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