Successful Simplicity

Saving Time; Simplifying Lives


                          August Organizing Tips

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Strategizing School Solutions

Wow, what a strange set of circumstances to be living in! School districts around the country are trying to figure out what the format for instruction is going to be this year, and it could change repeatedly throughout the year depending on outbreaks or improvements in case numbers. The end of the last school year seemed like it would be just a temporary measure until the COVID-19 situation was under control, but clearly there is a long way to go yet before that’s the case. So the name of the game this year is going to be flexibility on the fly. Here are some strategies that will help you get a handle on how to manage, despite the uncertainty.

Establishing a plan is going to be crucial amidst the chaos this school year. Everyone was thrust into these circumstances with little notice last year, but now you have the opportunity to do some advance planning for this year within your own household. Have a sit-down meeting as soon as possible with all the members of your household to come up with some ground rules for how to make the school year work. Don’t hesitate to include your kids in the decision-making, even at the youngest ages, because you’re going to need their buy-in. It’s important to meet soon in order to give yourself some time to get whatever systems you’ll need into place.

If you need to continue working from home after the school year starts, one thing I would strongly recommend is getting some extra support in the house a couple days a week if your kids are not old enough to stay on task independently. Now that wearing masks has become commonplace, try to find a nanny/babysitter that could come periodically during the school day to help kids with schoolwork, prepare mid-day meals, with everyone wearing their mask. While your kids may balk at that idea, it will help prepare them for going back to school when they’ll need to wear a mask every day anyway. Another alternative is to share childcare duties with someone else in your neighborhood that you trust. All the kids could do ‘school’ at one house on one day and then switch houses for another day to give you each some peace and quiet to work.

Establish a set bedtime and wake-up time just like you would do if your kids were going back to school normally. Routines have likely been all over the map because there wasn’t any structure to their days. You don’t want your kids to be sleeping until noon or doing their schoolwork whenever they feel like it, especially if your school district is going to be doing the hybrid approach of school on some days and at home on others. This also allows you to better plan your work from home. If you set specific windows of time when the kids will be focused each day, you can schedule the most important work meetings during those times.

Since school from home may extend well into the school year, it’s likely you’ll need to establish a more dedicated work area for each of your kids. During your family’s planning meeting, have each child decide where they’re going to do their schoolwork. Your younger children may need to be closer to you for assistance, but older kids may need a separate space where they can focus. Think carefully about allowing them to work in the same space as where they have gaming systems or other handy distractions. It will be a delicate balancing act between giving them enough space and privacy to spread out, but also not so much that they can easily spend hours making TikTok videos without you being aware of it. Whatever space they decide on, make sure each child has an inexpensive but dedicated workspace so that they’re not starting regular arguments with their siblings over hogging all the space or supplies.

Best of luck as you navigate this new year, and feel free to reach out if you want to troubleshoot school solutions!

Be well and be kind during this difficult time!