Helping your Child with the Less than Predictable: Making the Inconsistent Consistent
We began this pandemic in March with instant Remote Instruction, one day we were happily enjoying spring break and the next schools and jobs were moved to inside of our houses! People were told to remain inside unless they absolutely had to go out. We were all stunned. Parents had to learn to help their children manage remote learning, from logging into the platform and locating assignments, to engaging in “live” lessons, to managing complex daily schedules. At the same time, many parents were trying to manage working from home! There were many struggles, but we were quickly reminded that parents and teachers are resilient! Parents reported having only one computer, so they worked during the day and helped students with school work after their working hours. Other parents reported that schools loaned them computers so that all three of their children could log in to class at the same time. Teachers quickly tapped into their creativity and made Bitmoji classrooms. Students learned 21st century language, simply as a means of survival… “mute”, “unmute”, “chat”, “turn your camera on!”. By the end of May, a majority of the issues had been ironed out and things were running as smoothly as possible.
And here we are today….once again trying to manage the unknown. Some schools are hybrid and allowing parents to make decisions. Some schools have two days of virtual instruction followed by two days of in-person instruction. Some schools insist that students come to school with masks on and social distance from their peers and teachers, but… then someone gets Covid-19… a teacher, a peer. Some schools notify students and teachers that were exposed and they have to quarantine for 14 days. Other schools close school for two weeks and return to in-person or hybrid after 14 days only to repeat the cycle when someone else gets sick. Leaving students, parents, and teachers to wonder…..will instruction be virtual tomorrow? Will we be in school or at home? Do I have to get up early to ride the bus or can I sleep in a little to get online? “How do I manage child care?” “How am I going to work with all of the uncertainty?” “Should I simply just keep my child at home permanently?”
The answer is unknown; however, as we persevered last spring, we shall persevere in these inconsistent times. I have some suggestions that might help, but no one knows for sure. My number one suggestion is to take care of yourself and your child. Remember that these trying times can be detrimental to the mental health of all of us. Do the things that help you and your child feel comfortable. Relax and have fun as much as possible. I suggest that we all try to make consistency from the inconsistent. Similar to before, I recommend visual daily and weekly schedules. The schedules help students predict what is going to happen. As soon as you are aware of a change in schedule then the visual schedule should be changed. Make a schedule for online days, hybrid days, and in-person days. Exchange the day when the schedule is abruptly changed. Keep things as consistent as possible. For example, the morning routine can be the same no matter what mode of instruction is being used. The “afterschool” time can also remain the same. If your school is either remote or in-person, then have consistent schedules for remote days and in-person days. As such, the inconsistent becomes consistent! J