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Remember how life used to be, back before a worldwide pandemic changed everything from where we go to how we learn?

Often, I find myself looking in the rearview mirror wondering what happened and how to get back there. Back to the days when kids went to a physical school building all day, five days per week. Back to the times when homework meant work that was sent home to do in the afterschool hours. Back to when I didn’t feel like my kids were interacting through a screen all day.

And maybe those days will come back. I hope they do. But for now, I need to stop looking in the rearview and reroute myself, and my family, given the path I’m on. And that all starts with changing expectations.

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Start Small

Begin by recognizing that things are different. I know it sounds simple, but so many of us are busy trying to keep up, we forget the impact change has on us. Start small by identifying what has changed.

For me, that means saying, “my kids spend the majority of their days at home and their learning time is on the computer.”

What has changed for you? Try starting small by naming it.

Say Goodbye to the Old Way

Once you identify that something has changed, it helps to think about the old way of doing things and say goodbye (even for now.) Trying to hold the way things were and the way things are at the same time is enough to drive anyone crazy. 

My kids day looks totally different than it used to. Maybe it will get back there someday, but for now, I’ll say, “That’s the way we used to do things. This is how we do things now.”

Define Your New Way of Doing Things

There is a lot of power in the phrase right now.

Right now we use screens for school only until 4 pm.

Right now we take a screen break from 12-1 every day.

Right now we work at the desk until lunch and in the kitchen after lunch.

You get to decide what your RIGHT NOW statements are. Think about how you want things to look for now and set some guidelines. It will help your family embrace today.

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Make Space

Defining workspace gives a sense of predictability and purpose to work. When kids go to school or you go to the office, most people don’t go to a different desk in a different room with different supplies each day. Most people have a classroom or office they go to. They have a certain desk or area they work in. They have a space for their supplies.

Defining these things and being consistent with them makes working and learning much easier. It may not be possible to always have a dedicated desk to work at. But you can have a bin with all of your work things that you take to the spot you work in. It’s the same for kids. Creating space helps. To get started check out some of our favorite supplies.***

Include Breaks

Everyone needs breaks in their day. Sometimes it’s a natural break like lunch. Other times it’s just a physical break to walk around the room three times between projects. Whatever you choose for your kids (and you) make sure you incorporate breaks in your day.

Check out some of our favorite screen free breaks for kids here!***

Making these small changes will create a calmer, healthier atmosphere for work and learning in your home!