Learning (Virtually) As We Go: Parenting as a Professional during a Pandemic
With the school year kicking off...
…unprecedented times are continuing with the Covid-19 situation still impacting the country. When most in-person classes and activities came to an abrupt halt this March it was unclear what the impact would become, and many working professionals were forced to adapt on the fly. Technology made it possible for educational experiences to continue for students through a different medium to a certain extent, and many businesses have successfully pivoted to having remote workers. For certain professions however, like our health care workers, virtual learning poses some added challenges. As some degree of remote education returns to most districts this fall, many working professionals are left wondering, “How do I manage going to the office while my child is virtually learning?”
To help with this situation, we have put together some tips!
Learning (Virtually) As We Go: Parenting as a Professional during a Pandemic
Sep 23, 2020 | News
By Adam Stefanik
Lean on Others
Your peers likely have many of your same concerns as the fall semester begins. It is up for debate how much direct interaction individuals should be having with others during this health situation, but many are leaning on their families and community members to assist with childcare during the work week. Your family, close friends, neighbors, and social media connections can all be a great resource to pitch in while you are away.
One new trend commonly being referred to as a learning pod started popping up this spring in certain areas across the country. These pods are rotational systems where small groups of children get together to virtually learn for the day together that ensures one adult is present and accessible. Dr. Charlene Wong, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Duke University said in a recent US News article, “Pods could be one solution to allow an opportunity for social and emotional learning among a smaller group of children.” Reach out to those in your circle to see who might be interested in starting up a pod with you, or if they know of any already that may already be happening. If you are not comfortable with the idea of a pod, perhaps you can still find a family member willing to help for more personalized childcare while you are at the office.
In addition to your social circle, look to your community to learn more about their offerings. Many community organizations have gotten creative to accommodate the current needs of families. Here in Wisconsin, Kicks Unlimited has begun offering a daily in person “Learning Camp” during the work week with a mix of virtual learning assistance, outdoor activities, and karate classes to help keep your child engaged while you are at the office. They also have added online karate classes for children during the week to promote exercise and social engagement remotely.
Other companies are offering virtual musical lessons, golf, painting, dance, and just about any other type of activity you can think of during this health situation. Some of these may have costs associated, but you can also find a lot of neat lessons and tutorials just by looking around online on sites like YouTube. With some remote learning curriculum leaving gaps in your child’s schedule or being done for the day quite early, these can be a productive way for your child to spend their time. These types of activities can help them feel more fulfilled while also taking some pressure off you in making sure their day is filled with some added structure beyond academics.
Take Control of Your Schedule
Many companies are making a conscious effort to assist employees during Covid-19. Perhaps you traditionally work Monday through Friday but feel that having Wednesday’s off this fall would be extremely helpful with your child at home. You may have always been a bit uneasy with schedule requests but might be surprised by your supervisor’s response to your inquiry. While every circumstance is a little different, perhaps some compromise can be found if you mention your situation to your employer.
There are also many agencies like Complete Dental Staffing that give employees control of their schedule that remain a viable option. It may be a good time to reevaluate the regimented structure you are accustomed to and gain the ability to do more freelance work with professional support that matches you with opportunities that are in your best interest.
Karla, a dental hygienist in the Madison, WI area, appreciates the flexibility working with Complete Dental Staffing permits. Her grandson is virtually learning this fall, and Karla is pitching in with childcare. She works hygienist shifts when she chooses at offices in her surrounding area and can watch her grandson on the days she is needed. “I really appreciate the ability to control my schedule and be there for my grandson when needed while still being able to continue my career on my terms.”
Try your best to maintain a normalized routine for your child’s day. While the traditional activity of getting them ready for the bus or dropping them off for the day may not be the case, whatever your plan is make sure it involves some consistency. Everyone’s routines will look a little different, but if you can normalize the learning environment it can help keep your child at ease going through their day, even if you cannot be there for it all.
“Knowing what to expect from relationships and activities helps children become more confident,” says Dr. Peter Gorski, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in an article with daycareresource.com. If your child gets into a comfortable pattern, they will be in a better headspace to learn and it can in turn build your confidence that things will operate smoothly while you are away.
Some suggestions we have would be continuing any routines that were happening pre-Covid; laying out clothing for your child, eating breakfast together, walking through their daily schedule, and daily recaps of how things went when you get home. Perhaps mixing in new initiatives like helping them log into the computer in the morning, an afternoon check-in call, leave a checklist of things to be done while you are away, a daily inspirational note, or going for a walk together after work can all help. Whatever may be feasible with your schedule considering your obligations that can help structure their “virtual” school day, give it a try!
Find Time for You
Your kids and your work will understandably take up most of your time, but perhaps the most important thing you can do is carve out a little time for yourself each day. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health, and however you find those little moments of delight in your day, try and set aside some time for them. Maybe it is a late-night episode of your favorite TV show, a local hiking trail, ten pages of good book, whatever it might be and for however long, make sure to do something for you!
2020 has certainly had its share of challenges, and many will continue through the fall. As a working professional in the office, hopefully you can utilize some of our tips as the school year kicks off. A good support system, a strong routine laid out for your child, schedule flexibility, and taking that extra time for your own mental health will all make parenting this fall while at the office more manageable.
Complete Dental Staffing can help you with your bounce back plan.
If you would like to learn more about working with CDS or having our staff in your office, please call 608-492-5752 for more information. Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how we can help.