As challenging as online school is for us and our kids, here are some lessons learned from last year in the hopes to make it a less difficult time.
I don’t usually share things like this publicly; especially when it comes to the challenges my kids face. But, as we head back into virtual schooling in Ontario, I thought it was important to share the below story for anyone looking for support.
A year ago, we headed into virtual schooling with our two boys in grade 2 and senior kindergarten at the time. I worked in advertising, and my husband is in sales—both of us in client-facing roles with many videos calls and last-minute requests.
My eldest has special needs, which meant from 8:45 a.m. -3:15 p.m. Monday to Friday, except for recesses and lunch, one of us had to sit beside him. Whether it was to ensure he heard what the teacher asked, support him through the technology, or break down his work when he opened the assignment and immediately felt overwhelmed, one of us was there to help – 4.5 hours a day.
When it came to my youngest, we finally agreed to let him do what he wanted and participate as much as he was willing to. At the start, our frustration and anger with his unwillingness to participate or sit still were way more harmful to him than letting him create his own activities or play with his toys.
\It was the most stressful and challenging time of our lives, and I wanted to cry most days, especially the ones with multiple meltdowns, losing it on my kids and when my work felt extremely overwhelming.
Then there were the times when I felt on top of it all. My husband and I would agree on our weekly schedules, and I’d block the time off in my calendar for when I was “on duty.” Inevitably those days would result in a fire coming up at work that I would have to put out. Juggling it all was IMPOSSIBLE without dropping some balls.
I was angry, exhausted and guilt-ridden. I felt like I was letting everyone down.
But with every challenging situation, we get to live, learn and improve. Here are the lessons I learned, combined with some great tips my network shared and are what I’ll be doing differently this time around:
Ask for help – whether it’s from a boss, colleague, partner, friend, teacher or other school staff.
Share more of what you’re going through so you know you’re not alone and for support.
Tell the truth – especially when someone asks how you are or how things are going. The more honest we can be, the more people can support us. And the more we can share openly, the more others will feel inclined to do the same.
Lower your expectations – A LOT. Who cares if your kids didn’t do all their assignments? Who cares if the email isn’t perfect before sending? Who cares if you order in food a little bit more to save you time and energy? Who cares if you’re 5 minutes late to a meeting? Unless it’s a life or death situation, we drastically need to lower our expectations at this time.
Get as much fresh air as possible.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Readjust your game plan – if it’s not working, change it.
Do what you need to do to get by and protect your well-being as much as your can. Talk to a professional, take a leave of absence, set strict boundaries.
This year may not be as you expected so why not take some time for yourself and go after what you want. Whether it’s to develop healthier habits, improve your relationships or find a new job, book a free discovery session with me and let’s talk. As a Health, Life and Transformational Coach, I can help you uncover what you truly want and overcome what’s been holding you back from getting it. What have you got to lose? Book your FREE call today.