Like a lot of parents lately, I’ve been trying to manage my day job and manage my kids’ virtual school responsibilities. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way…
You have to watch your kids like a hawk. The other day I got an email from my kindergarten daughter’s teacher. While I was in the other room, my five-year-old daughter had figured out how to turn off her video camera so her teacher couldn’t see her playing instead of listening to the lesson. Now, I am writing this from my kids’ bedroom as they do school in the same room as me…
My little kids are better at tech than me. During class, my six-year-old daughter’s teacher was showing the kids how to use the “raise hand” button on Zoom. For the life of me, I couldn’t find that button. I eventually gave up and told her to just raise her hand on the screen. As I walked away, she found the button on her own.
White desks won’t stay white. This summer, when we moved into our new house, I bought my girls two beautiful white matching corner desks that fit perfectly in their room. Every day when school starts I tell them not to draw on their desks. And every day I come in to find pencil, crayon, tape, and every other possible mark on those pretty white desks.
Resetting your kids’ iPads makes you feel like a good parent. By the end of summer, my kids were addicted to their iPads – especially watching those pointless videos of other children playing with toys. Last week, I bit the bullet and took their iPads while they were asleep. I reset them to factory settings and then kept only five apps on each. I also set up screen time limits for all the apps except the reading and math ones – so they have no choice but to “learn” if they want to use their screens. It took about an hour and a half to get all the settings right and get the right apps on there, but it was worth it. I got a few days of complaints, but now they just accept it, and I feel like a won a parent point.
Whoever invented zip-up bedding is amazing. Buying zip-up comforters for my kids’ beds was one of the best investment I made for their rooms. Because their computer cameras are aimed right at their beds on the other side of the room, they have to make their beds in the morning. Having the zippers instead of tucking in sheets makes it really easy and saves us a lot of time and arguments.
There is no such thing as “me” time anymore. Working from home and overseeing schooling from home means I work when I can – which means a lot of night hours. Eventually, you just have to accept that those relaxing Netflix and chill nights after the kids go to bed just aren’t going to happen every night.
Getting snacks takes up half my day. Kids ask for snacks A LOT. When they’re at home all day, they ask for snacks a lot more. This means most of my day is spent going in and out of the kitchen getting milk, juice, water, pretzels, crackers and other things for them while they’re learning. Which means I eat a lot more snacks too.
Going to the grocery store is the highlight of my day. Who knew getting out of the house alone could be SO much fun? There’s a sense of freedom that comes over you when you get in that car alone, turn on a good podcast, and ever-so-slowly drive over to the grocery store (and then sit in a parking lot for five minutes before you go in).
Victoria Kelly is a former military spouse and the author of When the Men Go Off to War and Mrs. Houdini. She graduated from Harvard University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Find her at victoria-kelly.com.