I thought I was prepared for this virtual learning thing. The idea of not waking up super early to make sure the boys are getting dressed and then drive them to school was somewhat comforting for me. I visualized waking up early and opening up the blinds to let the sunshine in while the birds sing like they do in Disney movies. The boys would walk in and say, “Good morning Mom!” with so much enthusiasm and excitement for the school day. As I work in my office, they would be tucked away in their rooms prepared and on time. They log on to their laptops to be greeted by happy faces in Brady Bunch squares.
But then one day, I woke up, and here’s what really happened.
The first day of virtual school was pretty overwhelming. And waking up early? Ha! Even though I have to log on at 7 am for work, I woke up late. The night before they both had anxiety about what to expect and what may be expected from them. They couldn’t sleep which means I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t have to drive them to school but I definitely had to “drive” them to get them out of bed.
I stopped counting how many times I walked into their rooms to tell them to wake up. It was a workout. I didn’t open the blinds up too much because I was exhausted and the thought of bright shining sun in my face wasn’t sounding too appealing. And birds? What birds? Even they were running late to the party. Instead of “Good morning Mom”, I got “Why Mom?”. They both logged on late and my oldest was experiencing connection issues. Not even the Brady Bunch squares worked out. Some of the kids were excited, some were tired, some were anxious, and some just wasn’t feeling it.
I’ve always been big on setting expectations beforehand but the truth is, we didn’t know what to expect from this new way of learning. I don’t think anyone really knew what to expect. However, I’ve had a chance to take a really good look at what I could have done differently. Even though there are still many uncertainties about the virtual learning piece, I had to do a better job of setting expectations in my home and that’s exactly what I did. We are now into 4 weeks of virtual learning and things have settled down a bit.
Thankfully! For those of you whose children are still participating in virtual learning and your experiences have not been smooth sailing just yet, here are 3 little things you can do to establish a calmer, smoother process to your day.
- Breathe: Yes, breathe. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that everything will be okay. Positive self-talk is important. What you say to yourself, you will believe. And what you believe, will be displayed in your actions and what you say to the kiddos. Even if you have to get up much earlier than they do to get in some “me” time, just breathe.
- Set an alarm: Alarms are pretty alarming and I’m not a huge fan of them but setting one is not a bad idea. Even if you have to set it to vibrate, setting a reminder to make sure everyone wakes up on time or logs on when they are supposed to, may be helpful. At some point, you may not need the alarm anymore as everyone’s minds and bodies adapt to the daily schedule.
- Get some rest: It is possible to get some sleep without actually getting any rest. Rest is essential for the kids to be mentally present during virtual classes but also for your sanity. Establishing a healthy routine after school encourages a night of rest. Since there’s no PE, work out or play outside together in the afternoon. It’s also a great idea to turn off all devices at some point to play a game, read a book, or have conversations before bed.
However, you choose to do it, just know you got this and you’re not alone!