If anyone knows anything about helping to establish a working routine for kids when routines seem impossible it is Bardine May, who helps run the Smuckers LPGA Child Development Center for the children of the moms on the LPGA Tour as well as the children of LPGA staff members who work at the tournaments week to week. That means helping care for children who are dealing with ever-changing time zones, locales, and cultures. And while she is now home due to the postponement of LPGA Tournaments, that doesn’t mean her work is done. Like most of us trying to make our normal lives work from our couches, LPGA Tour players still need a little help keeping up with their games and their kids.
So if you’re struggling with suddenly becoming a part-time teacher on top of your normal 9-5, here are Bardine’s top tips for making sure your kids stay up to date with their school work while you keep your head on your shoulders.
Make a Schedule
Just because every day may feel like an endless Saturday doesn’t mean you should let your family treat it like one—especially if they still have school obligations.
“Structure, structure, structure,” Bardine said.
Kids are used to structure and routine, and they will know when it is time for school if you establish it as a family.
She suggests meeting with your child to learn what their typical school day looks like. If they have self-paced classes, keep in mind that they may be able to complete it faster than if they were in a typical classroom setting. Find out how long it takes them to complete their schoolwork and discuss with them your own obligations. Create a schedule together and stick to it.
Designate a Work Area
Working from home can be a difficult adjustment for anyone—adult or child. It can be hard to turn the relaxed mentality they usually have at home into the focused mindset they bring with them to school. Bardine’s suggestion is to designate a specific space in your home only for work.
“This helps everyone know that when you’re in that spot, that school is in session,” Bardine explained.
This could be anything from a makeshift workstation in a spare room, a corner of your home office, or a part of your child’s room. Wherever it is, make sure the area is only used for work. If you don’t have an area like that, you can change the way your child’s brain perceives the space by putting up posters or décor that reminds them of school and then clean it up when their work is done. Sometimes something as simple as preparing their area for work will be just what they need to kickstart a productive mentality.
Plan Fun Activities
Just because your child may have completed their work doesn’t mean their school day has to be over. With many curriculum focused only on math, science, reading, and the like, it is important to also keep your kids engaged in the other activities they enjoy at school as well.
“Remember the elective classes,” Bardine suggested. “PE, music, art . . . Get everyone in the house involved in all these to make it fun.”
This can be as simple as planning a family putt-putt golf competition in the backyard, or dusting off that guitar to share in an impromptu music lesson. All families are full of hidden talents.
And if that’s not you’re thing, there are also many virtual field trips you can use to help your children with their lessons and to keep things fun.
Especially if you are working from home, there will come a time where you will need quiet to attend a meeting or really focus on your work. Leaving your kids to their own devices may sound scary, but allowing them to work by themselves can be a good thing with the right guidance.
“If your kids finish their work early while you need to be on a call, plan activities ahead of time for them to do that will be quiet,” Bardine said. She suggested having books or coloring pages available for your child to do while they wait for you to be finished with your work.
LPGA*USGA Girls Golf has created a great list of kid-friendly activities in their new Home on the Range initiative. You can download coloring sheets, puzzles, and games from their website.
Easier said than done at times—especially now. But when you’re feeling overwhelmed, take stock of the new opportunities you have now that your family is together. Hectic schedules have slowed down. Your daily demands have changed drastically. But when was the last time you had this much time together as a family?
“Enjoy this time with your children,” Bardine said. “You are making wonderful memories with them.”
So stick to it. Keep it fun. Work together. And we’ll all see it through with most of our sanity intact.
What are your work from home tips? Let us know in the comments below.