Many of us are now adapting to studying online from home. For those of us with families, there are extra challenges that might lead to a few ripping-our-hair-out moments. Save yourself the stress – and the bald patches – by applying some of these tips for working in a family space.
Create a daily schedule
Having a schedule and a plan for your day helps you to stay on task and focus. The same goes for your children or other family members who are staying home. Depending on the age of your children, it may be possible to collaborate together on what needs to be done, and how you can work together to make it happen. This will help everyone feel like they have had a say in the day, and helps you to establish important things like when you need space and quiet to write an assessment piece.
Try to designate space
Finding space in a full house can be difficult. Try communicating with your family members about space so that you can work together to find a set-up that suits you. See if you can designate a specific room that is only for you during some set times of the day. If you’re short on space and have kids that don’t have ‘quiet’ as their strong suit, try scheduling some ‘outside time’ so that you have a chance to work in a kids-free zone.
Boundaries can be an effective way of encouraging the coexistence of your studies and your kids’ needs. If you put in place a plan for your day, and it goes well, great. But if it doesn’t, that’s okay too. We’re navigating a new world and we're learning to expect the unexpected.
Time boundaries can be helpful, but studying from home with kids at home is unlikely to fit within a neat schedules and plans. JCU is committed to working with students to find flexible ways of balancing competing demands, talk to your lecturer about what might be possible for you.
Don't be too hard on yourself
Kids are unpredictable. Inevitably, you’ll have to deal with a crisis that has less to do with COVID-19 and more to do with hair-pulling and broken toys. If your kids interrupt your Collaborate session with an embarrassing question or if you didn’t get everything done because you were refereeing arguments and managing meltdowns, it’s okay. Be kind to yourself – shut your computer down when you’re ready to and come back tomorrow.
Make time for yourself
At some point in each day, try to prioritise yourself. Take some time to yourself (not easy if your children are toddlers!) – but a few moments spent alone, or doing something you enjoy, can help.
Enjoy the moments
There’s a lot going on globally, and there’s probably a lot going on in your home. It’s easy to get stressed out, frustrated or overwhelmed. Our kid’s lives have been turned upside down and they will be coping with this to varying degrees. It’s okay to just switch off from the news, and do something that you have always enjoyed just for the fun of it. During this time, do your best to find strategies that work for you. Be adaptable and flexible and take it one day at a time.
Connect with others
Stay connected to friends and family. Talking with other parents who are in the same boat can be really helpful.
It is normal to feel anxious and worried during this time. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with mental health, help is available at Beyond Blue or phone Lifeline on 13 11 14. JCU students seeking help can also book sessions with the free JCU Counselling Service.
Need some help studying from home? Check out JCU’s resources for Learning Online.
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