It is so important to understand why a daily schedule will most probably not work during the Corona school closure and social isolation. And what we can do about having an optimistic attitude!
I grew up in a household where we had a text book to read. In the current school closure scenario, I am in a school system where I find myself constantly trying to keep up and now it is even more overwhelming. Sometimes I am stuck not knowing what I should do to ensure my child doesn’t experience a slide in education.
That I think is the most worrying thing about the whole school closure situation.
At the start of the School Closure…
Day 1 – “Gosh, I’m so unprepared. Look at all the moms who are so on the point with schedules and kids activities. …. I need to make a schedule.”
( I had spent four days getting prepared for the upcoming two week break, rearranging things, cleaning, meal planning, etc. On the first day, I got the kids to do some of the school work and things went not too bad. By this day, we have been a total of 7 days in isolation. “
Day 2 – “The schedule is going very well. ” But as the day progresses, I can see the kids and myself feeling the build up. They spend the evening in the back yard. I realize I CANNOT keep this up every single day. I will BURN OUT! Pus, I need to plan things out for myself.
Day 3- “Let’s take a break today and just read, play board games, take a walk. ” (Kids very happy!) By evening the school announces it’s going to be a month of school closure.
The overwhelm gets to me and I feel very low. My heart seems constricted. The unknown really gets to me. The Type A personality in me hates not knowing when this whole thing will end. Plus, I have realized that if we need to keep things up, we need to have a SUSTAINABLE plan.
So, here’s my take away on having a plan of action that helps moms get through this totally unprecedented scenario.
Have a Broad Framework
Understanding why a schedule will not work in this school closure situation.
I’m a scheduler. I love making lists. My days usually are planned out the night before and the morning of. And I get immense pleasure in keeping to my scheduler and ticking things off.
We wake up the same time every day, follow the same course and go to bed the same time, every night. The “framework ” of our days is the same. There is change, in the form of different classes and play time at school and friends where they meet.
But kids are small and we want to keep the overwhelm away from them. If every single day is the same, they are going to feel tied up, and frustrated eventually. Everyone needs constant change.
So, this is what I came up with AFTER I threw away the schedule, which I will use sporadically.
For the week, have a framework, than a schedule. A sort of, kind of, schedule that you ASPIRE to. To that end, we have two days school work (one day on gadgets, one day worksheets) and then one day off and then two days back on. That ways kids have enough variety. The days they have device time for education, they do not for play and vice versa.
So, in essence, kids end up getting 3 days off than just 2. And our day goes kind of –
Classwork (school suggested) … 2 hours
Classwork … 1 hour
Free play/Walk outside
Involve Kids in Decision Making
Speaking of variety, give kids options to choose from. As I have mentioned in my book multiple times, we want to encourage our children to become problem solvers and good decision makers. How will they do so, if we do not give them the room to make the decisions.
The options can range from what topic would you like to study to book to read or thing to do or board game to play. Kids need options to choose from.
Get Creative in Educating
Go through their educational material and make up games or out of the box ways to get the concept stronger. Quiz them while cooking. Play board games that help in the same. We want them to learn, not be drilled.
Use the many resources online available to parents wisely. Don’t get overpowered to dabble in everything. Take time and see what interests your child the most and use those most effectively.
Audio books are your friends too.
Start the Day with Self Care
It’s very easy to put others before you. Every single mother does that. Specially on days that you think are daunting. But make sure you do your thing every single morning.
Have your water
Go for the walk
Listen to a podcast
Don’t Stay Socially Isolated
Man is a social animal. We need to be with our friends. Talk about our day. Social distancing does not have to mean being on an island. Join a parents group of like minded individuals to get positive messages of empowerment and personal growth.
Remember, this applies to your kids too. Connect with your kids’ friends and classmates and make sure they get some face time in as well. Don’t let them become isolated.
Everything Cannot Be a Priority
As a person who likes to do everything and do it well, it’s hard for me to let go. I need to know how my life is going, my tasks in a queue, my goals achieved.
I am supposed to have a podcast up. Two new books in the process. I have like 10 articles in queue, mapped out. One book to be edited. Two clients with books coming out. And since I’m an mompreneur, it’s All me. I’m the end all of all decisions and tasks to be done. Luckily I have an amazing group of women who help me when and how they can, but it’s still not enough since many of the tasks are hands on for me.
The house needs to be cleaned (I can’t function), the family fed, exercise needs to be added to the routine and I need to ensure all the above gets done.
But guess what?
More than half of that is NOT going to get done immediately. Doesn’t mean I’m giving up. It just means, I’m being realistic and understanding that I am one person, and even with my husband’s support, there is only so much we can do with him having a full time job and the many things around the house that need fixing. Balance home and family with the knack that is needed.
Don’t take breaks only when your body forces you to.
Which brings me to making sure your kids are helping around the house. Yes, it is hard to do and be consistent but it is very important for their overall development and your own sanity. Have a family meeting and decide what each child can and will be doing. Take turns, pick your own thing to do, get incentivized. But make sure you delegate jobs around the house.
It’s Okay to Get Overwhelmed
I get this feeling constantly. The one where I feel nothing is in my control. That’s what I felt last night when I learned of the extension of the school closure. This is my new reality. I took the evening off. Relaxed with my favorite book. Looked at my task planner and thoughtfully realized, the scheduler cannot work for us.
Take time to process. Allow yourself to let go of things that you can. You are allowed to take time off to re-calibrate.
The mom that is killing it on her schedule, being amazing at everything is not sharing the tears and the sadness. Shes’ sharing coz it’s her outlet and connection to the world. It helps her get through her day. It’s her journey. Don’t compare yourself and your children to theirs. What works for them will not, cannot work for you.
It’s not a one size fits all world!
I saw this amazing talk where the speaker said, “Action comes before motivation.” If you are looking to get the “feeling” before getting inspired, you will be waiting a long time. Find out what goal you need to be achieving and start working towards it. One step at a time. You will slowly inch towards what needs doing.
Change Things Up
As I mentioned, humans need constant change. Move furniture around, make things pretty, set up to give yourself a change. Even if a slight redecoration occurs or a furniture is placed differently, it makes a difference to your outlook. Re organize a closet, wear a nice dress at home, put on make up, put on some music that you wouldn’t otherwise listen to. Send your friends a care package just to spice things up.
Shut Down Negativity ASAP
It is very easy to fall into negative spirals and fall into traps of panic. With people sharing forwards, without fact checking and breeding hatred, it is most important to make sure we ourselves keep negativity at bay and try to keep an optimistic attitude.
All, in all this is a mindset game. Remember, this is the first time such a situation is happening. Our children are watching us and seeing our reaction. It is teaching them how to behave in any untoward and unique situation.
We want them to develop an attitude of education, awareness, and hopeful action.