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Parenting as a Student During Quarantine

As we all figure out what normal means to us now, some UMKC students, faculty, and staff are figuring out how to factor in their children’s schooling in addition to their own academic work, all on top of the stressors many of us are facing. It’s important to remember that none of us are alone in this experience as a whole, and parents working their way through school especially can feel isolated and on their own, no matter what the circumstances. UMKC student-parents, you are not alone! To help make this new normal more manageable and less overwhelming, here are some tips from experts and fellow parents alike to make taking classes for yourself, and teaching classes for your children easier and as effective as possible.

•    Keep a consistent schedule, but don’t be afraid to be flexible and creative. From time to wake up to bedtime, have an idea of what’s coming next to help keep everyone on track. If a learning activity doesn’t pan out the way you thought, it’s okay! Have some kind of back up in mind. Include down time as well, both for yourself and for the kids.
•    Limit screen time, both for yourself and the kids. Any screen time outside of online classwork should be used sparingly to keep the screen from dominating everyone’s attention and time. Consider consolidating some screen time into family together time.
•    Help them break their work into segments that can be more easily done than everything at once, and lead by example by doing that for yourself. Guide your kids through an assignment that has multiple steps by showing them how they can do different parts over time to keep from getting overwhelmed; this will work for you as well.
•    Work to find the space in your home that works best for everybody. Not everyone can work well in the same environment, so let the kids find the place that works best for them, and make sure to do the same for yourself. Do you need silence and a table and chair that keep you focused, or do you need some kind of music and a comfortable spot on the couch? Find what promotes your thought process and get creative about it to help make that happen for the kids as well.
•    Take advantage of the resources out there for you as a parent, a student, and a teacher! Rely on your professors, rely on your children’s teachers, look into the online resources from places like the Miller Nichols Library, your favorite public library, and other school groups and programs available. This is a good way to supplement your own work, the children’s work, and reassure them and yourself that you’re not alone!
•    Include time alone for everyone, and not just for work. Make time to do things as a family, things that include some kind of physical activity (outside if possible!), and give everyone time alone as well. 
•    Don’t be shy about asking for help. This goes for your schoolwork, the kids’ schoolwork, or just a quick lifeline or sanity check. Call a friend, neighbor, or reach out for advice. Read about UMKC student Sunshine Aiono’s experience being a parent and student here.

Check out some of the activities and ideas being offered by the KCMOPL, the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Union Station and Science City, and the Mid-Continent Public Libraries.

Posted: April 29, 2020