Updated: Dec 18, 2020
AN new survey done by LinkedIn showed that women are feeling more stressed because of the pressures of teaching at home and the blurry lines of work/home balance.
Let’s take a look at five practical ways to manage stress and bring harmony back in the house:
1. Time capsules
In school, children are placed in groups of their peers based on age and, depending on the school, skill level. At home, children of all ages are now in the same classroom with varying degrees of needs, educational and developmental milestones. An older child may be feeling that they are responsible for the littler ones as babysitters and preceding their own stimulation. A smaller child might still require attention and less independent. This can create a lot of frustration and unhappy children and parents. Erikson’s’ stages of child development can help shed some light on this subject:
What ages and developmental phases are your children in?
How can you manage a time capsule to teach from home while giving each child individual attention? This might take a few different tries before you find what works best for you and your schedule.
Can technology in a different room bring some relief while you spend time with the other sibling?
What time of day works best for you and your children to do academic work?
The physical separation between children when it’s time for them to learn will recreate the space that they had in school. It will increase the focus for you and for the child. Rules and knowing what to expect create safety and routine. By explaining to your children that it’s essential that mom gives her undivided attention to each child is necessary for everyone.
TIP: Before starting the lesson, do a quick self-check to ensure that you are calm and won’t be distracted by work or other chores as much as possible.
2. Dinner table check-in
How will the energy in the home change if everyone takes a break to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together at the table? Without adding more pressure to come up with new ideas, what discussion topics can you explore while you are together, eating?
Creating a routine for the day in the morning can set a guideline for what needs to be done while being flexible. Go around the table and ask everyone what they would like to accomplish today. Including fun activities and relaxing, moments can be used as a reward after schoolwork is done. Phrasing in this time is also critical, for example saying, “Today we have math and science, what do you think we’ll learn?” versus “we have to get our math done today.” “I’m looking forward to working as a team today, then we can play a board game after dinner, what game do you want to play?” versus “we won’t play anything if we don’t get our work done.”
TIP: Engage in fun activities while balancing academic work.
3. Manage mental health with autonomy
Everyone has mental health, and just like physical exercise, we need to keep our resilience and ability to manage stress and other challenges in balance. This can also become an overwhelming part of the day, not only do we need to work from home, be teachers and mothers, mental health can move to the bottom of the priority list. However, by moving it to the forefront of an everyday conversation, we will create the calm before the storm has a chance to happen.
Depending on your child’s age, it is also essential to know how they manage and understand emotions. Younger children are more literal, and older children will start to integrate the third dimensions and have a more precise concept of their outer world. Keep that in mind, when you speak to your children about their emotions.
We created a template for this on our digital journaling platform:
Focus on the strength that your child has rather than the erratic emotions. What life skills can we all learn in this time? Make these gems a part of the conversation in an empowering, understanding and compassionate way.
TIP: Trust that the life-lessons that they’re learning in this time will serve them well in their futures.
4. Find the cause of the emotion.
“The teachers are giving the kids too many slides to work on, and I spend doing most of the work. I’m not even sure the kids are learning anything to be honest, except for maybe how frustrating technology can be when it’s not used in the appropriate format,” as she sits down at the table after the kids went to bed. The well-meaning husband replies, “I can take some time off work and help with it.” She sips her tea, “that’s not the problem, I have the time to do it, the problem is the slides and the expectation from the school. I’m not going to transfer the frustration to you - the problem is the format.”
This might be a similar conversation that you’ve had at some point during the pandemic. What is the root cause? Dig a little deeper, usually, as moms, we don’t want to feel like we are failing at something, let alone failing to be a good homeschool teacher. The above conversation could have easily turned into a blaming situation where egos and insecurities can take reign.
TIP: Take the emotion out of the conversation, do some exploration about what is really at the core of the challenge.
According to Erikson’s stages of development, people between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five are fulfilling their ability for love and care. What milestones are you working through or towards? How much attention and love do you show yourself? Journaling Through for Working Moms is an inspirational, caring, and loving journal that every mom needs in this time, but also once the kids can go back to school.
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