Parents are back to juggling their work and home schooling with term 3 starting in lockdown.

While it’s not the first-time and it might not be the last, the struggle for parents to find a balance remains.

“I am torn between being there for my kids during school hours and getting my work done,” said Jennifer Jones who is a mother of two and business owner of Little Global Explorers.

“It can be quite stressful, and I feel guilty for not always getting it right,” she said.

Keep the routine

With the lockdown extended until the end of the month (July 30), being organised and keeping up with the school routine is Jennifer’s number one tip to finding that balance during this time.

“We pretend they are still in school and I ring the bell at 9:15 am, when school is supposed to start,” she said.

“I ring a souvenir cow bell from Germany – the kids laugh and find it funny, and it starts the day off on a positive note.”

As a Sydney school teacher and mother of two children, aged 10 and 12, Belinda Farr-Jones has some tips from both sides.

“It’s really hard, so, good food, sleep, jokes… and they need to know that you care so anything you can do to make sure they know that,” she said.

“There’s no point trying to be too hard on your kids because it’s just going to be more stress for you.”

Set boundaries

Jennifer has an open-door policy when it comes to working in her office and home schooling.

“We let them know that if they do not understand something, they have options: they can either ask us or their teachers if anything is unclear,” she said.

“If I have a Zoom meeting, I will advise them beforehand and if my office door is closed, they are not allowed in.”

Separate work and home life

Belinda runs her classes on Zoom because she knows the students benefit from that social connection, however after the last lockdown, she found she couldn’t sustain four hours of Zoom each day.

“My voice and all that stuff got tired and it’s hard to switch off because the computer is always there and then you just keep answering kids way later,” she said.

“I’m kind of working more because there’s not a clear division between this is home and this is work anymore, it’s all just one thing.”

Don’t be too hard on yourself

 For Jennifer, finding a balance means not stressing too much about online learning.

“Teachers are not expecting us to replace them and for kids to work at top levels,” she said. “We need to cut ourselves and the kids a little bit of slack and not expect perfection.”

The NSW Department of Education have provided timetable samples with suggestions for how much time students (depending on their year) should spend learning English, Mathematics and other key learning areas from home.

They also recommend that both parents and their children should take regular breaks and incorporate fun into the learning environment.

Set time for games and activities

“I also make sure they are taking all their breaks (again, the cow bell gets a workout) and that they are spending time outside away from their devices,” Jennifer said.

Similarly, taking a break from the screen is important for both Belinda and her children.

“We play games and do stuff as a family at night, so that helps,” she said.

If you’re looking for some fun at home activities to do with your children, check these out!

And if you or anyone you know is struggling mentally and needs help, contact one of the following support services: Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.

Main picture provided by Jennifer Jones.