With many parents already opting to keep their kids home from school, and the potential for more home-schooling on the horizon, creating a productive learning environment at home is important. With many parents also needing to balance their working from home needs with their children’s schooling, we’ve got some tips on how to take the stress out of the process.
Get a routine in place
It’s important to understand that kids and parents may have different schedules when working from home – and routines may differ from school-to-school. The best thing to do is to consult with your child’s teacher about how best to structure the day based on the work they have to complete.
Outside of their workload, it’s important to remember that kids need the same essentials as you. They need a sound workspace; healthy food; regular exercise and occasional learning breaks.
Planning out your week ahead of time will save you a lot of stress in the long-term.
Create a study zone
Kids need a quiet and comfortable space to get work done. The good news is, it’s simple and easy to do.
Here are our tips:
- Use a chair with a comfortable seat cushion and a backrest with lumbar support to help kids sit upright. Most people will have a chair at the right height, with a comfortable seat cushion and back support (this could be a kitchen or dining chair). Feet should be well supported on the floor or on a footrest with thighs parallel to the floor. Sit with your kids to see what’s comfortable for them based on this advice.
- All you need is a flat relatively clutter-free surface; most kitchen tables will be the right height to work on. Ensure elbows are at 90 degrees or slightly greater when using the keyboard and mouse, and place items kids need, a tablet, book or pair of headphones within easy reach.
- If your kids are using computers or laptops, they can avoid glare by adjusting the angle on the monitor and reducing the brightness and contrast. Position the screen so the top third of it is at eye level when kids are sitting upright. You can raise a laptop using a stand/riser, or by using reams of paper and books – you’ll need an external keyboard and mouse if you are doing this.
- Don’t forget that kids should stand-up and move every 30-60 minutes – these stretches are a great way to relax and reset. Get them to set a reminder on their phone or desktop!
Identify your tech
You and your kids may take for granted having a whole swathe of tech available at work or in the classroom, but when you’ve moved into a home environment, that gear might not be at your fingertips.
To maximise productivity, we recommend following a checklist to make sure your workspace is set up for ergonomic success.
- Laptop or tablet (and charger);
- Headphones or headset for online learning
Explore the world online
Though kids are at home, there are plenty of ways to bring the world to them:
- Visit museums with Google Arts and Culture and their 2,500 museums and galleries around the world
- Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover
- Experience geography with National Geographic
- Learn about the climate with this NASA initiative
- Listen to astronauts read stories from space
- For budding Marine Biologists, take a deep dive into ocean life
Get busy making things
- Crafts and activities
- Illustrated recipes designed to help kids age 2-12 cook
- Let your kids play instruments online
Get kids moving
Sitting still isn’t always easy for kids, when they need a break or some time to decompress – these online resources can help:
- Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts
- Yoga and mindfulness for kids
- Go Geocaching
- Don’t forget to fly a kite
Make learning fun
When the set lessons are done, here are other resources to stimulate young minds:
- Maths as a fun part of your daily family routine
- Science podcasts to listen to with your kids
- Boost writing confidence with Storybird
- Learn to code
Raise your hand to ask for help
When we spoke to a teacher about the best advice for parents during this challenging time, they told us that it’s OK to understand your limitations.
The best advice you can have, they said, was to do what you can, when you can and how you can for your kids. Remember that you’re a parent, not a trained teacher, and that we’re all working in an uncertain space right now.
Be flexible with your situation and be sure to ask when you need help – teachers are expecting to hear from you!