We know every household is different and whether you are a caring for a child or another person in your life, these top tips might give you some ideas for how to study a home while also caring for others:
1. Set up your environment
Set up your environment for success. While the idea of working from your comfortable couch and wearing your PJs all day may sound like a dream come true, you’ll soon find that shifting to online learning can be challenging, particularly if you are not the only one in the household doing so. Assign yourself, and anyone else studying or working from home, a specific study area to call their own. This gives each person studying/working from home a sense that they belong in the newly shared space, while setting boundaries for personal time and study time. Check out ABS’s hacks for setting up a workstation at home.
2. Prioritise tasks
Prioritise tasks for each day. Don’t sweat the small stuff, these are challenging times so be kind to yourself and don’t put the expectation on yourself that you will get everything done that you would usually achieve each day. A “to-do” list serves as a reminder of the important tasks that you need to prioritise. Each day select the top tasks that you want to achieve with your studies and focus on those. This rule goes the same for kids, for some achieving one or two important things a day may be enough, so set realistic expectations for the whole household.
3. Establish a schedule
Developing a routine together can help all members of the family to feel like they have a bit of control over a challenging situation. Set up a daily schedule so that you and the family know what to expect from each day. If you have young children this could include pictures of the activities and you can make sure their schedule matches what you need to do that day (e.g. if you have a tutorial at 10am maybe this is when they could watch that movie they have been wanting to see). Display the schedule in a prominent place where everyone sees it and can refer to it throughout the day. Check out Schedule Like a Pro for some ideas of how to plan out the week.
4. Take scheduled breaks
Taking scheduled breaks not only keeps your mind fresh, but it also signals to the rest of the family that wellness is important. Even if you are in self-isolation, it’s still important to model to children that work-life or study-life balance.
5. Integrate exercise into your schedule
Exercise is important for everyone to support concentration and mental wellbeing. Set aside a time to exercise each day. This could include a bike ride, walking the dog or completing an exercise video/app if you can’t go outside. Check out the best fitness apps for kids for some ideas to get the whole family involved.
6. Utilise available learning and play resources
You aren't expected to all of a sudden be a full-fledged teacher while also studying yourself. Check out the ‘Learning resources for kids’ below for resources and activities to support children’s engagement and learning during this time. Take advantage of the growing number of resources available to help you during this time and don’t be too hard on yourself to be the perfect teacher.
7. Communicate with your lectures and tutors
If you are having difficulty managing your current workload or require an extension, simply touch base with your lecturers and/or tutors. They are here to help and support you where they can.
8. Stay connected!
Make sure that you lock in time to chat and stay connected with your social supports and friends. Consider setting up regular check-ins with a class mate/s to stay connected and touch base in on your study/assignment tasks. The same goes for the little ones, try to find ways for them to stay connected with others. Don’t forget to check out ECU’s Virtual Reality Check and ECU’s Parent and Carer Network, located on the Equity@ECU Blackboard Community Site, to stay connected with other parents/carers from ECU.
9. Priorities your mental health and wellbeing
Becoming a parent and/or caring for others already proves that you can do anything you put your mind to. Even so, changes during this time are likely to take their toll on everyone's mental health and wellbeing. Prioritise staying mentally healthy, ask for support when you need it and check out the mental health support services and resources below or on the ECU website.
10. If you need help, just ask
These are uncharted times for everyone, if there is something that will help you to stay engaged with your education or help you through this difficult time, we want to know. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 08 6304 6170.