1. There are no rules—The old dictum in our house used to be that all screens had to be used in common areas. The new directive is to take your online lecture to your room. Another old rule was no Fortnite as it was a massive time waster. Now Fortnite is encouraged as an essential way for the kids to stay connected. I also discovered it’s fun. Funny how that happens. In this crazy, hopefully short-term madness, the motto “anything goes” is imperative.
2. Flexibility is key—In the first few days of this remote school transition chaos, there were weekly schedules being shared online that showed very detailed—sometimes minute-to-minute scenarios—of what kids should be doing during the course of the day. How are they working out? The new reality is that as a parent, you can be as strict or as relaxed as you
want. Are your kids older and/or just self-directed? Let them decide when and where to work. Are your kids younger and crave routine? Map out a schedule. Whatever works.
3. Everything is a teachable moment—From smoking meat to fixing door frames, try to include kids in everyday tasks in which they might otherwise not have been involved. They can even earn “extra credit” to their completed coursework for things like taking out the trash. You can also learn a thing or two from your kids. One fun game we discovered involved involves scrolling through YouTube videos and trading live performances of your favorite bands. They now know about U2 Live at Red Rocks in 1983 and I know about Rex Orange County at Glastonbury 2019.
4. Time is on your side—What day is it? What month is it? Does it really matter right now? If there can be any positive to this situation it is all this time on our hands. No commutes, no drop offs and pickups, and no business trips means more time for you and your kids to dive into studies. Thanks to the Internet, you can supplement your student’s interest in a certain subject with infinite amounts of information. Want to know more about the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918? Find the Netflix documentary about it. Then look up an American History course on Coursera. Go ahead, you have nothing but time.
5. Communication is essential—FaceTime, Zoom, and Google Hangouts have truly become lifelines between people. They’re not optimal, but at least they work. Besides just setting up work and class calls, reach out your neighborhood association, your book club, and especially extended family. We try to have group chats at least once a day. It’s the new normal, unfortunately, so we may as well get used to it.