Advice

Parenting During the Time of COVID

We asked members of student organizations about what it was like to go to school and work while parenting kids during the time of COVID.

Update: On Monday, October 19, we had a student panel on this topic, with the students below. View the recording here.

Our Contributors:

We are hosting a student-led panel with blog contributors on Monday, October 19 from 5:30-6:30. Click here to register.

Cristyn A.—Bachelor of Business Admin. Single mom of 3 kids (middle school and high school). Student orgs: Families United and Omega NU. San Diego region.

Luis R. –Bachelor of Science, Nursing. Married with 3 kids (all elementary school). Student orgs: NUSNA, San Diego. San Diego Region.

Jacqueline M.—Master of Education, School Psychology. Married with two kids (college and elementary). Student org: Mind, Body, Wellness Student Organization. Imperial Valley region.

Ryan Z.—Master in Public Health (’20). Married with one child (a toddler and another on the way!). Student orgs: MPH Student Organization. Houston, TX region.

Lisa S.—Bachelor of Science, Nursing. Separated, one second grade son.  Student orgs: NUSNA, Fresno. Fresno region.

Micoy G.—Bachelor of Science, Nursing. Married, two kids (elementary). Student orgs: NUSNA, San Diego. San Diego region.

Christen V.—Bachelor of Elementary Education. Married, four children (from high school to elementary). Student orgs: Omega NU, Families United, Pride @NU. San Diego Region.

Whisper T. Master’s in Counseling, MFT. Widowed, one toddler.  San Diego Region.

“It’s a different type of new school year, but special just the same.” Luis R.

How did you handle time management when, suddenly, you were going to have to add full-time childcare/homeschooling to your already-packed life?

Jacqueline:

I quickly saw the need for a structure and routine. I decided to wake up before my children and get some quiet time to do assignments. Doing this helps me have a little more time to help them in their schoolwork.

I asked my kids to develop their own schedule to follow. I believe if they develop it themselves it will be easier for them to stick to it.  

Honestly, we try to follow the schedule, but we have also learned that it is ok when we can’t get it all done. Maintaining a good mental health has become a priority in my household

Lisa:

Time management is definitely a struggle for me, even before. Now, I find myself putting everything into my phone tasks/calendar with reminders. Everything goes in there including needing to get dog food or grocery shop. I cannot remember anything without a reminder.

“Creating a space that resembles a classroom has helped re-create the ‘school vibe'”- Luis R.

To be honest, I’m not proud of how I’ve handled things. I mean, we are both alive and functioning for the most part so that is a win right. I have learned grace during this time though. I have ridiculous standards for myself and I’ve been learning to let those go a little. Sometimes it is okay if the success of the day is that my son and I have both eaten and taken showers. Other days are more productive with the day ending in checks being in all the boxes of my to do list.

Christen:

I have created checklists for each one of my children. They have a daily schedule that helps me tremendously that keeps us on track. I have that pinned in the kitchen and in their rooms. I created that myself.

Juggling supervising the education of three kids, working from home, and going to school, Cristyn A. has learned to let go of some the guilt when she can’t be the “best” at everything all of the time.

Whisper:

My number one job as a mother is to make sure my son feels secure and comfortable in our home even with the pandemic.

I also try to keep a loose routine. We get up in the morning I make coffee, and my son breakfast. We put on some music and dance around kitchen. Then I create my to do list. Trying to make sure I have times set apart for conference calls, talking with clients and doing schoolwork. It’s a blessing going to National University and the flexibility that when my son goes down for a nap, I can log on to blackboard and do a few assignments without taking time away from him. It’s scary for a two-year-old when everything has changed so quickly so keeping a semi routine of bed, meals, and activities helps him feel a sense of stability.

Where there any NU resources you used that you would like to share with others as particularly helpful to you as you juggled work, school, and homeschooling?

Cristyn:

I firmly believe SilverCloud and the “how to handle anxiety’ course.  I found that as parents, we hold in an extreme amount of guilt, especially now.  I want to be the best parent, give them the best education, feed them good meals, have them live in a clean house, provide for them by doing well at work, and provide for their futures by getting a good education.  I can’t juggle all those balls at the same time, regardless of my desiresSilverCloud helped me learn to stop negative thinking and to take a second to find myself and be in the moment with some meditations. 

Don’t let the camo sweatpants fool you! Finding a set-up for working or learning at home is all about what works for you. Listen to your body and make sure you’ve got a healthy set up and are taking enough breaks to keep the blood moving.

Jacqueline:

I think the most helpful resource NU has provided for me is including me in a community of caring individuals. I was also able to contribute to this culture by forming the Mind, Body, and Wellness Student Organization. We are students who work out together and inspire each other. From weights to yoga, we offer structured space for workouts and community. We were really fortunate that NU’s Manager of Student Wellness agreed to be our staff advisor. Ashley is amazing and her office offers so many great resources.

From Luis R.: When everyone is home together all day long, giving kids alone time away from their siblings becomes extra important. In our family, we also make sure to have individual projects to allow for one-on-one bonding with each child. One favorite project is trying out new recipes together!

Micoy:

Mentor Me because as a mentee and a mentor. It made me feel secure knowing that I have this as a resource that I can use to reach out to a mentor for encouragement and support; and as mentor,  it felt good knowing that I am able to pay it forward and able to help others and share my knowledge and experience to anyone who may need my assistance and advice.

It was also this time that I started using Portfolium—which all NU students have access to through their Single Sign On page—more and appreciated its use.  I like that I can upload and store in Portfolium any updates or schoolwork that I recently completed.  This not only serves as a filing system for me but also something that I look back on from time to time to reflect on the work I’ve done and  how far I’ve come on working for my degree.

Luis:

My professors have made themselves more available than ever for virtual 1-1 meetings. In those meetings I’ve been able to seek out professional and academic guidance while also simply interacting with people who are subject matter experts in the field I chose to study at National. Further, OmegaNU and Families United put together a list of resources for the CSEA page.

Sometimes an extra pillow or better headphones can make a huge difference in one’s learning environment.

Ryan:

I definitely lean on student organizations and clubs. Whether you are a student or alumni, clubs can bring people together and provide an opportunity to ask for advice, gain perspective, or just share a story of success (or frustration).

Our programs at NU extend beyond the classroom, whether on campus or online.

Stay tuned for more student voices coming soon. And be sure to check out “What’s NU?” for the latest updates on Center for Student Engagement & Activities events.

To join a club, email us at clubs@nu.edu.