As this Coronavirus pandemic enters another month of lockdowns and varying restrictions across the world, some of the most common concerns we are hearing are from parents: how do I navigate my children through this? How do I fit in my work hours and meet deadlines while trying to give my children focused assistance with schoolwork at home?
Unless you chose a career as an educator or made the decision to home-school your children prior to this crisis, most of us are not qualified to be teachers. It’s the reason we send our children to school. You are a parent first and cannot be expected to do your own job, teach a curriculum and parent at the same time.
Yet the pressures to do it all and do it well, are very real. You only need to take a glance at social media to see other families seemingly doing it all superbly with hours of educational play, craft and baking and neat workstations, while you can barely manage 10 minutes of solid work in a closet without being interrupted and asked to help spell a word, get onto Google Classroom, or plagued by constant requests for snacks, let alone figure out what to cook for dinner.
You are doing the best you can.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, guilty for needing to work, or worried that your kids are falling behind in their schoolwork because you don’t have more time to help them, press pause. You are doing the best you can.
Some days will be better than others. Give yourself permission to not get it right all the time. Choose to play a game or cuddle and chat on the couch over ticking off everything on the schedule.
However, with restrictions unlikely to ease to allow children back into a regular school routine for the foreseeable future, we have to adjust. So how do we shift expectations and routines to keep working and schooling from home sustainable? How do we take care of our mental health and that of our children in the midst of the pressure and confusing expectations?
Below are some helpful resources produced by the World Health Organisation which include simple, practical and zero-pressure ideas to get you and your children through these unusual days.
Remember, none of us are perfect. We are all making the best of a dramatically altered world. This is unmarked territory and we haven’t been here before. Have grace for each other and be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can.
There is also a lot of help available. Chat to your child’s school teacher and find out some clear expectations. Talk to a pastor or a mental health professional if you are feeling overwhelmed and unable to handle things. Pray together as a family. Keep Christ at the centre. Be honest with each other and keep holding each other close.
You will get through this.