As kids get ready to go "back to school" and we all have to deal with online learning, there are some things that we need to do to help our kids, and ourselves, adjust to this brave new world.

Friends of mine who have school age kids are using these tips to help make things a little easier:

1. Make a space for everyone - There's no possible way to give everyone a room, but if everyone has their own space on a table, that can help make everyone feel like they are at their own desk.

2. Mark everyone's school supplies - Just because they aren't in a classroom, a little bit of normalcy goes a long way. Put everyone's name on their supplies and keep them in a backpack as though they were going to go off to school every morning, not just the kitchen table.

3. Try not to distract them - If you're watching tv, exercising, doing the laundry, your beasties might get distracted. Try to keep non-school activities to non-school hours. It's tougher on you, but if everyone is working, then things are more likely to get handled during "business" hours.

4. Set up a reward system - You're the teacher now and that means keeping them on track. Set up a gold star system, a cookie reward system, or a gaming reward system. Whatever your kiddo likes, use that to keep them focused on schoolwork. For every 'A', you get an hour of gaming time, for every 'B' 15 minutes. Be strict but fair to help your monsters achieve while at home.

5. Be kind - Not only to your monsters, but to yourself. No one is going to have an unstressful day. You didn't before COVID-19, you won't now that you are all sequestered at home. Remember that when things get crazy, and they will, and give everyone a break. Online learning during the spring was kind of a lost cause, but the fall semester will count. Working at home is tough, I think tougher than being at the office. Everyone is on pins and needles. Remember that. Sometimes just putting everyone in their own bedroom for a bit helps calm things down.

This is going to be a weird semester. Let's give everyone the space to do well, freak out, and then regroup.

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