Managing your business and your kids’ remote learning at the same time
Owning a business isn’t easy, nor is being a parent. Trying to do both at the same time is doubly challenging, made even more so now that some schools are having kids learn remotely, at home. Which means you may be working from home as well, and trying to juggle both jobs at once. Here are some tips to make it work.
Develop a routine
Merging your meeting schedule with your kids’ school schedule may seem daunting, but developing a routine early on will pay off handsomely in terms of productivity. Keeping a regular schedule will help everyone know what to expect.
Get a whiteboard and set up a weekly calendar. Put in all the things that can’t be rescheduled, like your kids’ classes and appointments that you have to keep. Fill in the things that are more flexible around these commitments. When you need to schedule an appointment, even a virtual one, check the calendar first.
Manage your space and your equipment
Trying to have everyone working around the dining room table at the same time is a recipe for disaster. Try to have work areas in separate rooms, especially for those who need to be on Zoom or phone calls.
Make sure you have the right equipment to have everyone working at the same time. This means individual computers, unless your routine allows for sharing. And you may need a Wi-Fi booster or hotspot to have enough internet bandwidth to support all that equipment.
Identify tasks you can do after hours
Most business owners have had to work nights and weekends to get their business off the ground. Even if you’re now past that point, you may have to go back to doing so just to get everything done. Determine which to-do list items can wait until the school day is over. Although this might not be a desirable routine, it will help to free you up during the day to help your kids with their schoolwork, mitigate any technology issues, or speak with teachers.
Let the kids help you
Depending on the ages of your children, they may be able to help with some tasks after school and on the weekends. This tactic has the added benefit of giving kids some real-world experience in business and may lead to some teachable moments. These new routines should involve the whole family, not just the parents. So get your kids on board early and establish new roles or tasks.
Share the load
It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child. Reach out to your ‘village’ if you need help. Here are some examples of people you could call on for help.
- Your spouse or partner, who may be able to adjust their work schedule so they have some free time during the school day to help the children with their assignments, or who may be able to help with business-related tasks.
- Other parents who have children the same age(s) as yours. Many families are forming ‘pods’ with small groups of same-age children so each parent takes a turn supervising virtual learning. Instead of overseeing five days a week, you may only need to pitch in for one or two. Your kids stay within a small group, minimizing their risk of being exposed to the virus compared to a classroom.
- Relatives who might be unemployed or retired.
- Older siblings who may be able to help the younger kids with school assignments. The advantage here is that older children learned the same material more recently than you did, and may find it easier to explain.
- Colleagues and employees, who may be able to take over some of the tasks you typically do during the hours your kids are learning. In exchange, you could take on some of their tasks that can be done during other times of the day.
When you started your business, you probably never dreamed you’d be trying to run it while your kids were trying to ‘attend’ school at home. Being able to do both requires some flexibility but, hopefully, we can soon return to something approaching ‘normal.’