By Kate Shaffer, Copy Director 

Well, first things first. NOBODY was prepared for a pandemic. At least not the average citizen (and definitely not yours truly). And speaking specifically to you, parents: nobody has all the answers for the insanity of distance learning. Right? If you do, call me.

As home and work and school and parenting have merged into one big life blob, we’ve all had to smudge the lines that used to keep all the different facets of our lives in semi-tidy compartments. In many ways, this has been…in a word?…terrible. But there are some upsides. For example, it’s made me see how I can take what I know from my professional life and apply it to my kids. After all, despite their comments to the contrary, I AM the boss of them.

So how does working in a creative industry give us a leg up on distance learning? Here’s what I have done, and some notes I’ve collected from others on the Little team:

Embrace interruptions: working in an open and creative office environment (remember those days?) means you have to be flexible and willing to embrace interruptions. This is also true for distance learners. Helping them roll with the flow of a toddler intrusion on their Zoom calls makes the day a bit easier to manage.

Collaboration: as creative folk, we’re collaborative by nature. So, too, with distance learning. Look to other parents (or, perhaps, this blog post?) to share ideas or get some reinforcement to make the day easier.

Technology: we have it, we might as well use it. Use voice-activated devices at home to serve as taskmasters when you need to be doing other things. For example, using a voice activated timer to act as the virtual school bell will let you kids know when it’s time to move on to the next task.

Create a scrum board: break down the tasks of the day by writing each one on a sticky note, then put them into columns: to do, in progress, and complete. It makes the to-do list visual and interactive.

Of course, there are a lot of resources out there with comprehensive distance learning tips. But why not start with what we know and what we’re already good at? Like any huge, seemingly impossible deadline, we just have to put our heads down and get the work done. And, eventually, we’ll get through this.