How Can Single Parents Cope with Working-At-Home and Online Schooling?

Misbah Akhtar

The coronavirus pandemic changed our lives in so many ways, and having your children attend virtual classes instead of going to school is definitely one of them. Online schooling is certainly ideal at this time: it prevents kids from becoming exposed to the virus, which is highly likely if they must walk through crowded hallways in-between classes or eat lunch in a packed cafeteria. It is certainly safer and more convenient to have them attend classes at home, regardless if they’re getting public or private education.

Not to say that there won’t be problems with this set-up, because there definitely will be. There will be fighting over who gets the dining room table, who gets the comfortable chair, complaints about someone’s audio being too loud, or that someone is talking too loud. You might also have to assert boundaries and rules of your own if you’re also working from home full-time.

These are just some things you need to sort out; and if you’re a single parent, it will fall on you to find solutions that will help everyone in the household.

How Can Single Parents Cope with Working-At-Home and Online Schooling

Here are some tips on how you can manage working from home and ensuring your children are doing well with their online classes.

Inform your boss about your situation at home.

Given the current circumstances, many employers understand the challenges their employees face. If the nature of your work permits, you may ask that you work flexible hours so that you can adjust your schedule around your children’s school schedules.

Treat the mornings like you would a normal school day pre-pandemic.

Establish a morning routine for yourself and your kids. This is very important because it helps delineate work and study hours from leisure time. For instance, insist that they should wake at 7:00 in the morning, freshen up and have breakfast so that they can be ready and in front of their laptops by 9:00 when their first online class starts.  

It’s important to create an environment conducive to learning so that your kids will take their online classes seriously. The last thing you want to happen is for them to feel like they are on a perpetual holiday: they may not retain much of their lessons, and the quality of their education could suffer as a result.

Take advantage of online educational services.

One of the surprising realizations people have from remote working and learning is that these arrangements don’t actually give them more free time. On the contrary, working and studying at home means more work for everyone, especially single parents. You need to prepare everyone’s meals three times a day and tidy up more often now that everyone is at home 24/7. So even if you want to help your children with their homework like you used to, you might not have the time.

Enrolling your kids to an online tutoring program can help. Trained online tutors can give your children their undivided attention and focus on the topics they’re having a hard time understanding. Online tutors will also help your children do their homework. That would be one less task for you.

Assign study areas for everyone.

Avoid arguments about who gets to sit where by deciding on this matter beforehand. Let your children pick their preferred spots in the house. Make it a rule that when someone is in the middle of a live or taped lecture, the rest should minimize their noise especially if sound carries around your house.

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Gather everyone during dinner time.

Make dinner time the official “end of the day” for the entire household. If classes end about two or three hours earlier than when you usually eat dinner, allow your kids to spend that time for themselves. Let them indulge in their hobbies, watch TV, or get started on their homework. Even though they didn’t leave your house, they still need some downtime so that they can disconnect from school and recharge. Having a meal together helps establish that boundary.

It’s tough being a single parent, even more so now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic. The key is to get your kids to cooperate and follow certain rules to ensure harmony in your home. These tips can help you get started.

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