Do you think kids need a dedicated work space?
If your living situation allows, yes. We were caught off guard at the beginning of the pandemic and we made do with makeshift work spaces for us and our kids. Since this is going to go on for a while, we should try to make a distraction-free zone and ensure everyone has a place to work (that is not their bed).
What if you have limited space?
If you’re in an apartment, this may mean lap desks in the living room with noise-cancelling headphones! When it comes to desks, I recently discovered two clever desk options at Walmart.com. One is a portable lap desk from Hearthsong – younger kids that comes in several bright colors and has storage inside so they can keep their essentials in one place. Another is the Costway Folding Writing Desk that folds flat against the wall when it’s not in use. Perfect for tight spaces!
Everyone is sick of being at home by now. What do you suggest?
It’s likely that everyone is tired of looking at the same four walls by now. To get your kids motivated for remote learning, invite them to spruce up their workspace with some cheerful items, like colorful pen holders, succulent plants. Local shops are great for those unique pieces and small businesses really need our help. I’m collaborating with American Express* to encourage people Shop Small. They have this great program – when you enroll your eligible American Express Card, you can receive $5 back after you spend $10 or more at an eligible U.S. small business. This can be online, curbside or in-store, up to 10 times through September 20. You can learn more and enroll at ShopSmall.com.
We’ve heard so many stories about family members sharing devices or working on outdated devices, which makes it hard for everyone to get their work done. Any tips?
No matter where you live, it’s looking like school will be a hybrid of learning at-school and at-home. After a clunky 4th semester earlier this year, make sure your kids have everything they need for home learning success. Laptops and tablets are pricey, but you can sell your old devices and upgrade to refurbished ones on a site like Decluttr.com, where it’s easy to sell tech and buy on a budget. Amazon, Apple, Walmart, Target and Best Buy also offer refurbished tech, which will be quite a bit less expensive than new. Just make sure there is a warranty.
What about wi-fi?
Check with your internet provider and make sure you have the best package to accommodate all the extra devices online at the same time. If times are tight, check with your school district. Some are offering free loaner devices and wi-fi hotspots.
My advice would be to ask yourself: when everyone in the family is online, are there lags? If so, reach out to your carrier to inquire about pricing for bumping up to the next speed. Then, take that price and go to the competitive carrier and see what they are offering.
I would also say don’t be afraid to switch carriers. Switching is sometimes advantageous because there are coupons and offers available for switching.
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*American Express is a paid partner.