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education best practicesHow to be a working parent during COVID

January 12, 2021

Supporting working parents during COVID

It’s no secret that working parents are struggling during the COVID 19 pandemic. On top of the pressure and anxiety of the - well, pandemic! - there’s also the prospect of needing to keep up performance on the job while supporting your student at home.

From NPR to PBS, the verdict is simple: the way things are today is really, really tough. How can mom or dad work 9-5 (or later) and still find time to help their children with meals, homework, studying, and other life necessities?

At Yup, we’re proud to take some burden off parents by offering 1:1 tutoring that supplements and replaces parental math support and that leads to long term learning. We even partner with companies to offer tutoring to the children of their working parents.

We wanted to go a step further and offer tips and tricks for working parents as the remote learning and remote work situation continues. How can you help both your student and help yourself during these tough times?

Set expectations with work

The best way to tackle the new work-life balance head on is to make it known how difficult things are, and set clear boundaries around what should be expected during working hours.

This is easier said than done, no doubt. Not everyone can up and tell companies what they want and expect to be heard. We’ve created a list of tips for setting expectations, some asking a lot and others not as much. Hopefully you can make at least some work with your company.

  • Flexible working hours - e.g., scheduling around helping student with work during a specific time period Clear remote communications policy -when do things need to be responded to or turned around, and how can your coworkers make priority clear?
  • Expectations that things might change for you on the fly - what if your child comes in needing help during a work meeting?
  • Everyone’s working from home, everyone should get what it’s like by now. And that means you’re owed a degree of empathy and understanding.

Embrace change

As important as it is to set expectations with work that flexibility is required, it’s just as important to set those expectations with yourself!

We’ve talked about the effectiveness of setting routines in other articles. And that’s absolutely true. The more structure and consistency, the better students perform, and the more predictability parents have over their own schedules.

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But, as all parents know, no matter how much planning you do, things change! And they change often.

As best you can, accept that this will happen. And know that you’ve worked up front to set expectations that flexibility is required (see Tip 1), so you’ve earned the need to be flexible on the back end.

Set clear goals

We cheated a bit with this one since we gave the same advice to students. But hey, students and parents aren’t so different when it comes to needing to produce work!

Goals for yourself and for your student will help you clearly define success. Particularly with work from home, it’s become more and more important to know how to break down large goals into smaller pieces and conquer those pieces one by one.

The biggest tip here is communicating those goals to your child. It’ll be easier to explain why you need to take a meeting or produce a certain piece of work if they’re on the same page. Saying “Hey, I need to take an hour to finish this report” lands a lot better when your student already knows you owe that report!

Celebrate wins

Another slight bit of cheating, but again, you deserve to celebrate just as much as your student!

Things aren’t easy right now. Even the average day is, what, 2-3x more complex and stressful?

So celebrate those wins! Maybe it’s finishing a big piece of work, maybe it’s your student scoring well on their latest test, maybe it’s just making it through another tough day. You worked hard for that success and you deserve a reward!

It isn’t the first time you’ve heard this and it won’t be the last: these are unprecedented times. Who knows what it’s taken for you, but you’ve made it through these times thus far. And here at Yup, we know you’ll keep on keeping on, so go out there and do it!

Yup Math Tutoring is an on-demand tutoring platform that instantly connects students with math tutors 24 hours a day, 7 day a week. In the message-based sessions, students are coached through problems based on their existing math knowledge. This helps students learn not just the how of math, but also the why. Yup focuses on instilling a growth mindset so that students increase their confidence in math both in and out of the classroom.