Suddenly Working from Home with Kids?

Posted by Lisa Sayler on 4/17/20 6:00 AM
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Suddenly find yourself working from home, being teacher and parent simultaneously?

I think we can all agree that all our worlds have been turned upside down and stress is at a new level of high.  This is certainly one of the only times most of us have all experienced the same crisis at the same time globally.  School in our county went from remote learning for one week before spring break to three more weeks to the rest of the school year.  I’m.not.panicking....or complaining...that much. Insert nervous giggle.

I feel very lucky in many ways despite many big changes and am already used to working remotely but I can't pretend being promoted to home school teacher and day care provider in addition to this isn't a new personal challenge.  

Those we at CorrectTech serve in community corrections are essential and are having to make big changes to address this crisis, including having some staff work at home, meet with clients remotely; while others have to keep operations running in a time of health risk, worry and stress.  We thank you for your continued commitment!  I do know from my experience working in community corrections directly that you are used to many interruptions throughout the day but this is certainly a whole new twist.

It is inspiring to see so many people stepping up and finding ways to make a difference during this crisis. Since I can’t do many of the things in high demand right now, I sometimes feel a little helpless as to how I can help.  So, I thought I would at least share with you what has been helpful for me in getting through my workdays in this new situation. 

Don't have kids at home yourself, I bet you have an employee or co-worker who does - so maybe you can share these with them!

3 areas of focus I've found helpful for working at home with Kids, including my top 10 remote resources!

1. The great outdoors

What a lifesaver that beautiful spring weather has come (with a dash of snow here and there in Colorado) as the social distancing/stay at home orders went out. I am sure my family has already been on more bike rides this spring than all last year and we have discovered new trails around our home.  Even during the work day I encourage you to take breaks to get moving and outside as much as possible!  A breath of fresh air can give you a renewed energy as you are working with additional responsibilities (and wear them out a little).

I have had my girls do other independent activities outdoors such as new and already ventured back yard sports, rollerskating, scooters, tape a pattern for sidewalk chalk art, create a scavenger hunt list, bubbles, sand and water toys/activities.

We decided a trampoline was an "essential item" for our home and it has already provided a return on investment 110%!

2. Use FREE remote resources & other ideas for keeping kids busy, learning, active & engaged with friends and family

Here are 10 of my favorites remote resources:

  1. Scholastic News – offering a free "Learn at Home" series while schools are shut down.
  2. Starfall Learning - Math, Phonics & Reading games- – free (always) educational activities for K-3.
  3. Lunch Doodles with Mo Williams – author of The Pigeon series is doing a daily art "doodle" for kids.
  4. Cosmic Kids Yogo - for some physical and mental activity! 
  5. Messenger for Kids - A bit of silly remote socialization for kids to see and "play" with friends and family. 
  6. Epic  – offering a 30-day free trial – this digital library is being used by our school district. 
  7. – used by my daughter’s school for “brain breaks”, is a free online resource that provides tons of ways for kids and families to be active, stay mindful, and keep on learning!
  8. Face Time, Zoom, House Party, Messenger for Kids, etc. – so many great platforms for connecting with family/friends for “story time”, just to say hi (or offer parents a forum for a virtual happy hour after a long day). Our niece started reading Harry Potter to the girls and grandparents can be great story tellers or listeners.  To be honest, we have seen some of the friends and family we haven’t in a long time because we have suddenly realized we can do this!
  9. Duolingo – a free app for learning languages – we just started this and hoping it will help the girls practice and learn more Spanish.
  10. Endless Reader – we have used this game before this as well – great game to help kids learning to read.

Check out almost any zoo or museum and you are likely to find they offer a virtual tour and there are many educational programs out there.

I try and find "non screen" activities for them to keep busy on their own too of course. One thing that has worked is putting activity ideas down on a little pieces of paper (like coloring, word scramble, art, creative play, etc.) and putting them in a cup for a "raffle" draw.  When the girls need ideas of what to do to keep busy, this can make it more fun.

3. A positive and realistic attitude

I've heard from more than one person that they are experiencing unexpected blessings out of this crisis and I feel the same. I'm so appreciative of those essential businesses and employees out there working so hard with a variety of unique challenges and concerns.

I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions throughout this experience for so many reasons but must settle on the fact that this is out of our control and we will all get through this together. We cannot do everything perfectly and all at once.  The teachers understand and are going through the same challenges themselves.  They are not demanding perfection.  We have to adjust and prioritize everything each day.   

Another nice thing, everyone is experiencing this so everyone seems to get it.  I did a demo one day with a team of community corrections staff and heard kids in the background and felt relief that I wasn't the only one.

My heart breaks for so many during this time but I am also inspired by people’s ability to help each other and build each other up.  So many funny meme’s and parodies to help keep us laughing during this time – I'd recommend some of those as well but they may not all be "appropriate" for this blog (message me and I'll tell ya ;-)).

Finding new ways to connect with others, support each other, manage our time differently, more quality time with family, 6-foot chats with neighbors, not rushing around and filling up our calendar and finding out yet again, just when we think we can’t handle something else…WE CAN.

Struggling with all this change? We get it, check out Dr. Alex Walker's webinar and/or article Mindset Matters : Appreciative Thinking in Time of Crisis.

Want to learn more about coaching in community corrections?  Check out our blog series on a Coaching Habit 

Topics: Community Corrections, Community Corrections Professional, reentry, work from home, COVID-10, resources, remote working, Coronavirus, probation staff

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