As parents, we’re used to juggling childcare and work around the school holidays. We pull in favors, send them to clubs, enlist the help of grandparents and somehow get by. 

But with school closures happening all over the world, this is childcare on an entirely different level! 

Let’s be honest, if you’ve chosen to educate your child in a school, you never expect to have to become their full-time teacher. Plus, you’re now trying to do this alongside your own job while supporting everyone emotionally through these unprecedented times. 

Sometimes it feels as if we’re living in a movie! 

But we will adapt and we will figure this thing out. For sure, there are big challenges and adjustments ahead, but we are problem-solvers. What’s more, we know there is a silver lining in all of this [even if we can’t see it yet]. You never know, this forced homestay could create something beautiful for your children and your family as a whole. 

So keep reading, and discover some ideas and resources to help you create more structure and focus. Any certainty you can introduce right now will make everyone feel that little bit better. 

1. Planning is EVERYTHING

If there’s one thing that’s great about this current situation, is you now have full control of your time. 

No school run, no commute to work, no clubs or activities to rush to. In many ways, everyday life [from an I need to be here, there, and everywhere perspective] suddenly got a whole lot simpler.

This current situation has given you a blank canvas. 

You get to choose how you organize your time to complete your work, educate your children, focus on your own interests, and elevate family life. 

There’s no need to stick to your old timetable. You can shake things up, experiment, and figure out what works best for you. For example, you may find you’re able to do more work during the first hour of your day than you normally churned out during a half-day at the office because you have no distractions. 

You may find your children focus better and are able to grasp topics easier. 

You may find you have a lot more time for each other.

Who knows! 

So step one of this new experience is to plan your time. 

Here’s a scheduling tool that can help you. 

Put everything on your planner - work, school time, meals, exercise, talk time etc. Create a new structure and start building this new life in the way you want it to be. 

2. Create work-life harmony

There’s never been a better time to figure out your work-life harmony. With so much of our everyday lives stripped away, now is the perfect opportunity to figure out what you really want for yourself and your kids. For example: 

  • What are the at-home activities you’ve been putting off that you’d like to do? 
  • What new skills could you learn through an online course? 
  • What project could you start or finish? 
  • What could you take up as a family? 

Maybe you can start having meals together. You could schedule a time for family games. This is a great time to get really creative and create the family life you’ve always dreamed about. 

And if you don’t know where to start, consider taking the BestSelf Benchmark. This is a great opportunity to re-evaluate and reset where you are in each area of your life. When you have this information to hand, you’ll feel more empowered to figure out your next steps.  

Resources:

3. Encourage your children to take ownership of their time

Children are used to having structure and a timetable supplied by their school. Now they have an opportunity to create their own daily routine. This can become a huge opportunity to teach your children an important life skill - how to take control of their own time.

For example, you can invite your children to: 

  • Figure out when they are most focused - and encourage them to timetable school work then 
  • Agree to screen limit and allow them to choose when they’ll take it
  • Decide when they want to practice their hobbies, read, or learn a new skill
  • Pick some responsibilities they could take on around the house
  • Help out with household chores

The Self Planner is a great tool that can help older children plan and organize their time effectively. They could also use this handy PDF to figure out their week. Empower your children now, and you’ll also free up more time for you to focus on the things you need to complete. 

RESOURCES: 

  1. Empower your children to plan their own day with this printable daily planning template
  2. Help your child get organized for the longer-term with the six-month Self Planner

    4. Create new habits

    There’s freedom as well as certainty in structure - and your habits help you to create this. Invite your children to decide what actions they’ll take every day to help them achieve the things they want to do. For example, they may like to: 

    • Read everyday
    • Create a scrapbook or a journal of their experiences
    • Take up a new hobby
    • Learn something new
    • Master a foreign language
    • Learn to cook
    • Start yoga, dance, ballet etc. 

    Many of these can be learnt online while staying at home. Practice these habits for even a few minutes every day and you can quickly become better.   

    New habits can take a while to become autopilot, but this is a great time to focus on the little daily actions that can improve your life in a significant way. For best results, track your habits using a tracker. Simply check off every day you complete your habit to create a winning streak. In time, your streak will be so long it will be more painful to break it than to keep going. 

    Before you know it, your children will be doing a whole raft of valuable, life-enhancing things off their own back. 

    Resources:

    1. Inspire your children to choose their own habits with this printable Habit Tracker
    2. Start tracking 90 days of new habits with the help of the Habit Roadmap

    These are fearful times and with all the news and social updates, it’s easy to get dragged into a negative place. Negativity and fear-based thinking keep you trapped, drains your energy, and steals your productivity. 

    Right now, we can’t choose our external circumstances. These are out of our control. But we can decide the way we react to them. Helping your children stay calm and positive will help them navigate the times ahead with more confidence. And there are plenty of ways you can do this. For example: 

    • Practice gratitude. There’s always a silver lining and there’s always something in your life to be thankful for - however hard circumstances become. Encourage your children to write down something each day that they’re grateful for, and watch how it makes them feel more positive.
    • Practice mindfulness. Spending more time in the present moment is a good thing during these uncertain times. Practices such as yoga and meditation can help calm the nerves and help you move through the day more effectively.
    • Talk! It’s easy to bottle up your emotions when they feel too difficult to manage. Talking is a great way to find out what your children are really thinking and feeling. 

    Resources:

    1. Open new lines of communication with this Little Talk sampler - PDF
    2. Get 150 questions for kids inside the Little Talk Deck
    3. Discover 150 little things to be grateful for in this printable PDF.
    4. Start a mindfulness practice with the help of these bite-sized meditations 
    5. Explore more free meditations from Calm 

    Keep going...

    With such significant adjustments across all areas of your life, it’s going to take some time to create a new sense of normality. So cut yourself some slack! You don’t have to get this perfect from day 1. It is OK to make ‘mistakes’. It’s normal to have bad days. It’s not a problem if you want to start all over again because you’ve figured out a better way.

    Just make a commitment to find the silver lining in all of this. 

    You never know, this crazy experience could bring your family closer together in the most beautiful way.