Support for parents working from home

Virtual education

IXL learning**
Freckle (Front Row)**
Khan Academy*

*Available for free.
**Washoe County School District has licenses for some classrooms. Check with your child's teacher about access.

Homeschooling K-12 children

Parents of K-12 students in the Washoe County School District began homeschooling on April 1. The Distance Learning and Family Wellness website has posted weekly packets with daily activities and assignments. Changes to your family's daily schedule could potentially be stressful.  Some parents will greatly enjoy homeschooling their children while working remotely, while others will find it difficult to switch back and forth each day between work, homeschooling and entertaining their children.  Just in case, here are some resources to help you teach your child from home.

Tips for working parents

Work in short, focused bursts.

Just as breaking your to-do list into smaller, more manageable pieces can help you tackle a big project, the Pomodoro technique can help you break your work-at-home workday into short (25-30 minute) bursts of intense focus and productivity. Both short and long breaks are scheduled in between sessions, which makes it especially helpful for parents who need to check in frequently with their children. Read more about the Pomodoro Technique.

Make a better to-do list.

With all the distraction that comes with working alongside your favorite little person (or people), you may find yourself losing track of tasks that need to be completed. The bullet journal system eschews phone apps, websites and software and requires nothing but an inexpensive notebook (gridded or lined paper helps). Learn the bullet journal system for recording personal and professional tasks, meetings notes, events and progress.

Communicate more.

If you are someone who is more productive when working on a deadline, try meeting with the person (or team) that you report to more frequently. If you continue only having bi-weekly meetings, for example, and add in all of the distractions of home life, it can be harder to meet your deadlines. Try meeting twice weekly instead. It is easier to focus on two to three days' work at a time rather than fourteen days' worth. You'll also have more opportunities to communicate struggles, support one another and give (and receive) flexibility during this time.

Tips for parenting while working

  • 1. Promote normalcy with a regular schedule.

    Promote normalcy with a regular schedule.

    Most children respond well to routine schedules. That's why one of the easiest ways to maintain a sense of normalcy in a time of uncertainty is to stick to a regular bedtime and – although they may be sleeping in a little later – the same morning routine. If they have distance learning lessons to complete, establish set times for that work to be done (and make sure you block out some time on your calendar to check in on them periodically). Continue to limit screen time as you normally would and have consistent mealtimes. If you change your children's schedules, rules and norms, it will be difficult for everyone to readjust once schools reopen and parents return to work.

    For the working parent: Once you have a rhythm that works for you, commit to it by putting it on your calendar. You can block out chunks of time dedicated to project work or tasks – but you can mark them as “available” in case someone needs to schedule a meeting with you. Don’t forget to block out times for things like lunch, family interaction, homeschooling, or exercise.

  • 2. Explore creative work scheduling if needed.

    Explore creative work scheduling if needed.

    Depending on the age and needs of your child(ren), it may not be possible to get all of your work done between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Experts suggest speaking with your supervisor about the possibility of staggering your hours with your co-parent or working non-traditional hours, assuming this is possible with your role. For example, if your child(ren) wake at 8, you could get three hours of productive work in by starting at 5 a.m. and finish by 2 p.m., allowing you to focus on the children's needs. Alternatively, you could focus on their schooling in the morning, starting work later, and finishing your daily tasks after your child(ren)'s bedtime.

    Before you change your work hours, you may wish to speak with your supervisor first. Depending on your role, it may be essential for you to remain available for meetings, customer service or other job duties during regular office hours.

  • 3. Schedule something extra every day with your children.

    Schedule something extra every day with your children.

    Take a walk. Ride bikes. Build a puzzle. Play a game. Watch a movie. Draw together. Play instruments. Have a dance party. Work in the garden. Pass down a skill, like woodworking, sewing, or cooking.

    When your chlidren grow up, what would you want them to remember about this time spent working and schooling from home together? Can you create positive experiences for them to (hopefullly) remember fondly one day?

  • 4. Minimize distractions.

    Minimize distractions.

    When you’re on campus, your housemates and children can’t walk into your office in your jammies or join your meetings. When you are working at home, you may need to find creative ways to establish gentle, but firm boundaries while you work. If you share a home with children or roommates, experts recommend that you establish your workstation behind a closed door and discuss your need to not be interrupted. Put a brightly-colored  “do not disturb” sign on your door or hanging from your doorknob when you need quiet and take it down when it is ok to have quick interruptions. Or simply ask them not to come in if the door is closed and discuss what to do if they need something during that time.

  • 5. Reward good behavior, ideally with something other than screen time.

    Reward good behavior, ideally with something other than screen time.

    For example, if your children complete their schoolwork or reading, or don’t fight with their sibling, or don’t disturb you during meetings, reward them with a shared activity, like baking something together.