The New Parent Role: How to Manage Your “Just Right” Balance
Janene Russell is an elementary teacher turned toy inventing super-mom dedicated to early childhood development. As a lead product manager at Educational Insights, she brings over 15 years of experience and a unique educator’s perspective that melds creativity, laugh-out-loud fun and hands-on learning through toys and games. As a passionate advocate for kids of all abilities and needs, Janene is devoted to creating innovative new ways kids can learn, grow, and celebrate their own unique selves. Janene’s inspiration is often sparked by the wonders of playtime with her two young children, because after all, play is the work of the child and parent!
We all thrive from schedules and structure. But it’s also ok to keep your schedules flexible; because let’s face it—meetings get scheduled on the fly, or your child isn’t in the mood to do homework (the list goes on). Through this, both you - and your kids - are learning how to be flexible and accepting of change.
Remember that progress over perfection leaves room for fine tuning and more importantly, for parents to stay present. Celebrate the small victories and be kind to yourself!
These days, parents are living in this extreme juggling act. Parents are looking for ways to cope and find balance, and there isn’t one true answer. However, if there is anything the pandemic has taught us, it is how to be resilient and through this we have all developed unique mechanisms to rebuild and charge forward. There is a saying that balance is not something you find, rather something you create. But did you know balance is also about adding and subtracting weight until everything feels even?
Adding weight is easy to do. It is simple to pile on a list of all the things we need to accomplish before the day ends, but do you know what is even more fulfilling? Subtracting. Taking away things that bring added stress and instead, replacing them with things that work, and setting reasonable boundaries that are just right for your family. No matter the season, it’s best to do our best to keep our lives balanced – for the benefit of our kids and us!
Check out these 5 Tips to Balance Work and Supporting Kids at Home
Wake Up and Play
Begin your morning with a healthy dose of play. Carving out time to play with your children not only sets positive energy for how your family will tackle obstacles throughout the day but can also help alleviate stress with the release of endorphins. Check out Educational Insights’ Pancake Pile-Up, the perfect game that serves up family fun with a side of pretend breakfast! In addition to games, art activities and even turning school projects into a whole family experience are also ways to jumpstart your daily routine.
Come together for daily meetings to share what’s on deck for every family member’s agenda. This gives everyone a heads up on what to expect with school lessons and work meetings and can even help you find common break times to take a breather together. Daily family meetings too much? Subtract! Turn these daily meetings into weekly ones OR find creative ways to announce family news with bulletin boards or calendars. These family huddles can also be check-ins to reflect on what is working, what needs more polishing, and encourages how to solve problems together.
Create Must Dos and May Dos
This is a common tool that teachers use in the classroom to foster self-reliance and to keep students busy after they hear, “I’m done with my work, now what?” Parents need their children to take an active role in their independent learning and play. Let’s face it, we are all looking for some quiet time too! Post these lists in a common area where everyone can refer to them:
- Must-Dos: This list features all the things kids must do when they are finished with schoolwork. Ideas include: house chores, silent reading, helping their younger sibling, or busy bags. Click here for creative busy bag ideas that promote independent learning and “Me Time.”
- May-Dos: These are all the things your kids may do once the must-dos have been completed. This list is more flexible and fun such as free choice, drawing challenges or even random activities that your family creates together and throws them into a jar to choose. It’s important to get your kids’ input on this list, because not only are their ideas refreshing and pure, but it also supports personal investment in the process.
Schoolwork doesn’t have to get a bad rap in your household. Your environment greatly impacts mood and motivation. Create a special learning nook for kids to do their school- and homework. The smallest of spaces can be converted into the coziest learning hub.
BONUS TIP: Create a cozy workspace for yourself too! Check out these sweet ideas to transform space in your home.