General General
How can I work efficiently with my child at home during Covid-19?
Asked By : Lyyynda
Words from the Expert:


How can I work efficiently with my child at home during Covid-19? Due to the situation, I need to WFH and my child has HBL as well, how can I do my work but also allow my child to learn at the same time?


These are unprecedented times for Singapore, with the vast majority of the nation advised to stay home from 7 April until 4 May as safe distancing measures are ramped up to manage the Covid-19 outbreak.

For most families, the government’s “circuit breaker” measures have meant multiple different worlds collapsing into one, as the workplace and the school both converge into the home environment.

For most people, managing such a transition can look like a tall order. But don’t despair! Home-schooling is not a new thing and has been done successfully by many parents since 2000 when it became legal in Singapore.

Here are 5 tips from The Learning Lab to help with maintaining your work and your child's learning at home:

1) Give yourself some time to adjust

As is typically the case with sudden changes in life, you should not expect everything to be smooth-going immediately.

This may seem obvious, but it is important to remind yourself of this when you begin to feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with focusing on your work while overseeing the learning needs of children of different ages at the same time.

Your child may also be stressed and uncertain because of the disruptions to their everyday life. Settling into a new normal will take time for both you and your child, so don’t be too hard on yourself if the first few days are a bumpy ride.

2) Set routines...

In the absence of the structure imposed by office hours and your child’s school timetable, it is up to you to create new routines that will govern your day.

This can involve starting the day with breakfast and chores, before you and your child begin working or studying respectively. You can plan to settle lighter work that allows for distractions when your child is studying, for example, and concentrate on heftier projects during their playtime. 

Or you could set aside time for independent study for your child and also supervised sessions when you are available to answer any questions your child may have.

If you have more than one child, getting the older child to supervise the younger for chores and study time can also have a positive effect for both children. By setting routines, you let everyone know what to expect and establish a new daily rhythm, which goes a long way in alleviating uncertainties during this period.

3) ...but stay flexible

At the same time, setting routines does not mean setting a rigid and inflexible schedule. The latter can quickly spiral out of control and snowball when the unexpected crops up at home, whether it is a tricky bit of homework or preparing for lunch that takes up more time to settle.

The WiFi might start acting up, or perhaps it’s your company’s virtual private network (VPN) that has an issue.

It’s important to accept that while you can order your day around a routine, you also have to adjust and prioritise on the fly. Move work around to fit the blocks of uninterrupted time you have, when you have them.

For example, if you need more time than usual to work on something urgent, you can ask your spouse to assume sole responsibility for supervising the children for a few hours, and return the favour later in the day or the next day.

4) Help your child develop good independent learning habits

The ability to learn independently is crucial for your child to flourish and stay on top of their schoolwork during this period.

While you may have gotten relatively used to working from home owing to your company’s business continuity plans, chances are your child will be much less prepared and equipped to deal with the challenges of being productive at home.

For a start, you may want to remove from the easy reach of your child unwanted distractions such as toys, devices or games during alloted study time. Now is also a good time to make sure that they are willing and capable of handling smaller tasks such as sharpening pencils or refilling pens on their own, so they do not have to constantly seek your help.

A homework routine, including a set time and place, and with regular short breaks, also goes a long way in helping your child stay focused. Useful habits like keeping a record of what assignments are outstanding become more important at this time for both you and your child.

Finally, let your child know that fun times or rewards will come their way should they hold up their side of the bargain and complete their homework!

5) Be realistic with what you and your child can accomplish in a day

While you may feel obliged to ensure that your child is making full use of his or her time, do take some time to consider just what your child’s and your workload consist of. Don’t worry if study time doesn’t look exactly as it’s supposed to in school.

For example, expecting your child to spend all of their usual ‘school hours’ studying at home may be unrealistic.

In school, they have recess, lunch breaks and PE classes, and more time is needed as well for teachers to cater to classes of 40 students compared to just the one or two kiddos at home for you.

You should also consider your own workload from day to day. If you are already rather hard-pressed over a looming project deadline, this could be a sign to relax a little on your plans to sit down with your kids for enrichment homework, or other extracurricular activities. You don’t want to burn out from trying to juggle too much.

Taking Home-Based Learning to New Heights

At The Learning Lab, we have also made the shift to home-based learning for our students.

By conducting our lessons on BigBlueButton, an online web conferencing system, our teachers and students are able to interact and engage in animated discussions in real-time.

This means that our students still get the benefits of our rigorous curriculum that they know and love, except that this curriculum has now migrated online, and children can continue to enhance their learning in the safety and comfort of their homes.

The Expert:
The Learning Lab