It’s been a difficult year for everyone in 2020, but divorced and/or single parents have had an entirely new set of challenges with the introduction of remote learning. Not only are many now working from home, but they are helping their children learn from home too. A Canvas study found that parents are encountering more at-home challenges than ever. While there is no “one size fits all” approach to transitioning your child and your family to this new environment, you need to prioritize yourself. Consider taking advantage of all New York state resources and support, and consider the following in navigating your journey:
When you’re juggling this much, you must communicate with those around you. This includes your co-parent (whether you share a residence or not), your child, their teachers, your employer, your friends, and your family. Opening the lines of communication to discuss your schedule, your needs, and your priorities for each facet of your life should start immediately. It can be important, emotionally and logistically, to check in to share worries, needs, and any positive progress. You cannot be everything to everybody, so ask for help and be flexible.
Make the most of teacher conferences
Now that you are sharing the load with the teacher to make sure your child is doing homework and attending their remote classes (and paying attention to them!), make your check-ins with your teachers meaningful! Plan in advance. For example: check in with your child and understand how they feel about their remote experience. Consider asking to use a platform that allows for screen-sharing so you can share any notes, or give examples about certain homework assignments and areas of confusion. Ask directly for training resources on areas that have been identified for improvement, such as ideas for supplementing computer learning with fun worksheets that focus on core learning concepts that might slip during times where children lose focus. This is some of the most valuable time you have to improve the remote learning experience, so make the most of it.
Meal Prep or Plan
Let’s face it, many families relied upon the school to feed their children during school hours. But now you are the school. It’s easy to walk out one day and see nothing but processed food wrappers scattered about your kitchen because your children didn’t know what else to eat. Take whatever time you’re able to during the weekend, or even mid-week, to stock the house with healthy, easy-to-grab food and snacks so no one has to spend the little free time they do have worrying about what to make. Don’t feel bad about using a grocery delivery service to cut down on trips to the store (also helps reduce exposure to groups of people!), and check out other blogs or parental support resources on how to help your children learn from home.
Take time for yourself
There are many types of self-care, and socialization is one critical aspect to your personal life. Not everyone derives energy from socializing, and it’s of course important to do what works for you. But don’t forget to check-in with your friends and family, or even a therapist. It helps to schedule these blocks so that you keep appointments with yourself and your mental health. Even a 15-minute walk around the block or use of a meditation app can be helpful (the Headspace or Calm apps are great). Every family will have different risk tolerances that dictate the level of social interaction they have as a family and as an individual, but parents should make sure to incorporate time to actually live life.
SupportPay can help
Remote learning is hard on everyone, and it creates specific challenges for divorced families.
SupportPay is an app designed to work seamlessly into parents’ lives to share expenses and reduce conflict by keeping communication transparent. For more resources and information on how SupportPay can help your family, visit our resources page.