Flexibility is key for a successful remote environment

Parents can toss out some of their rules – at least for now.

More cookies and a bit of bribery is OK given the new remote environment children and adults alike are adjusting to.


“As parents, we get very rule bound. We decide you can only have an hour of screen time. Or you can only have so many cookies at this moment,” Laura Dinehart, senior associate dean for the School of Education and Human Development in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education said during a recent, virtual 305 Cafecito Chat hosted by the FIU Office of Engagement.

“Some days you’re going to be like ‘How about an extra cookie? I’ll give you what you need if you give me five minutes to finish this meeting,’” Dinehart added.

While this shouldn’t be a common practice, Dinehart reminds caretakers it’s important to give themselves a break during this unprecedented time.

It’s OK if kids are popping up in the middle of a zoom meeting or behind the scenes crying, screaming or pressing buttons.

“It’s happening to everyone,” Dinehart said. “It’s a useless thing to be concerned about, get rid of that anxiety.”

Some additional tips she provided during the live chat on balancing working from home with children:

  • If you are able, negotiate time with your partner and try to set up a scenario where there’s some structure where one is working while the other is addressing the child (or children’s) needs. But, know it may have to be ripped up some days.
  • Strange work hours are OK. Wake up earlier than your children to get things done or use the evening to crank out some additional tasks. Just communicate your temporary work schedule with your colleagues.
  • Being outside is important, but it’s even more important to keep the whole family moving. There are a myriad of local studios streaming yoga, dance, routine exercise and more.
  • Use resources such as Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami-Dade County Library Broward County Public Schools, YouTube, Pinterest, Google – there are hundreds of activities at everyone’s disposal.
  • Recognize the importance of your work and your kids, but take care of yourself. Don’t be afraid to take some alone time.

Dinehart is also ensuring FIU students on the path to a teaching career are getting as-close-to an in-person experience as possible.

Dinehart and her faculty are utilizing several online tools to ensure students are still learning all the skills they need to become teachers.

“Things have to be virtual whether we want to or not. We’ve been resistant as a society, but it’s a new world,” she said. “We’re shifting education in ways we didn’t think of before. This will change moving forward how we think about education in a K-12 space and in a higher education space.”