Employee-Tested Tactics for Distanced Learning

The ideas and suggestions written below are provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. The contents of this article are not intended to make health or nutrition claims about our products. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health and nutrition related activity.

Six months into this global pandemic and we’re still here. Some days are better than others, and we know parents everywhere can relate.

Here at Clif, we created internal support groups where parents of school-aged kids can share advice and tips. Within these forums, we find solidarity and keep the good humor alive. Now we’re opening up about this nationwide journey into distanced learning by sharing little tricks that keep us going, plus bites of reality to keep it real.

After all, when it comes to parenting, it takes a village, and we’re in this together.

Here’s how we’re navigating the challenge of living, working, and educating our children from home.

Distanced learning on laptop

Establishing a routine.

“We talk our kids through what the next day will be like in the evening before, and we keep the same routine each day.” — Annie, mother of 2, Integrated Marketing, Emeryville HQ

It’s taken a lot of trial and error, but we keep returning to consistency to get us through each week of learning and working from home.

What’s working for Clif employees:

  • Getting dressed and brushing teeth
  • Playing mellow music to start the day (a few fans of Bob Marley over here)
  • Rewarding a productive school day with a little screen time
  • Arranging activities on a daily chart so kids can change up their schedule — as long as they include all the moving pieces (yep, we’re finding routine in controlled chaos)

Keeping it real:

"We've moved and rearranged office spaces A LOT. Mostly for me and my husband. An open floor plan is not so great when everyone is on a call at the same time." — Michelle, mother of 1, Consumer Insights, Emeryville HQ

Organizing what we can.

“We have four children in grade school, and each teacher uses a different way to communicate with us on what assignments are due.” — Jared, father of 7, Operations, Indianapolis

Because households are now tripling as homes, schools, and offices, we’ve gotten creative with our at-home setups.

What’s working for Clif employees:

  • Stowable bins to file school-day tasks and work priorities (chuck them under a bed or bench when not in use)
  • Door-hanging cubbies to store school supplies and devices so there’s no more scrambling in the morning to find headphones, cords, etc.
  • Adding desks to bedrooms for both kids and parents
  • Partners taking a.m. and p.m. shifts to be there for their kids while getting their work done
  • Scheduling school and activities on a shared Google calendar for time management

Keeping it real:

“Basically, we have 3 workstations spread across our small condo from the living room to the dining room.” — Jocelyn, Mother of 1, Innovation, Emeryville HQ

Making meals together.

“Meals are a focused, concentrated time where I ask the kids what they are excited about learning.” — Jeanine, mother of 2, Field Marketing, Austin

We went from packing brown bag lunches or counting on school to serve up a well-rounded meal. Now we’re doubling as midday chefs, servers, and lunchtime supervisors. Order up!

What’s working for Clif employees:

  • A same-time, same-place lunchtime that helps keep the day on track and tummies satiated so kids can focus on the next assignment
  • Family dinners to nurture a sense of togetherness and normalcy
  • Packed lunches for a midday field trip or a much-needed break from the house
  • CLIF Kid® Zbar™ to solve snack-attacks in a pinch; plus, they’re packed with nutritious and tasty ingredients that hit the spot.

Keeping it real:

Sometimes , something’s got to give. “We now eat breakfast and lunch on compostable plates .” — Nikki, mother of 2, Brand Marketing, Seattle

Getting out of the house.

“We balance a long day (for my son and me) on Zoom with time outside. It’s been fun to discover that his love of making up stories works GREAT on long walks in our neighborhood.” — Melinda, Mother of 1, Brand Marketing, Emeryville HQ

Broken record over here, but we’re all hunkered at the house, 24/7. That’s why we get out as much as humanly possible these days. Adventure is in our DNA, so we recommend stretching the legs, taking a new path, and breathing in fresh air on the regular.

What’s working for Clif employees:

  • Accepting the notion that most kids will not sit in front of a screen all day
  • Finishing required assignments, then going on nearby “field trips”
  • Taking long walks with a CLIF Kid® Zbar™ as a bribe
  • Using trampolines, hopscotch or jump ropes to get the extra energy out (jump at your own risk)

Keeping it real:

“I reward completed schoolwork with trips to the beach. And online toy shopping.” — Monica, mother of 1, Demand Planning (Food Supply), Emeryville HQ

Give yourself a break.

“Nothing better than a scoop of Cookies ‘n’ Cream.” — Jared

Listen. We’re all doing our best. We’ve tried stuff that sticks and we’ve tried stuff that fails. Most days, it feels like we’re hanging on by a thread. So at the end of the day, we treat ourselves.

  • Reading a book while the kids watch a movie
  • Hiking in the woods, Strolling around the block, Watching a show for grownups
  • Taking baths behind closed doors
  • 5pm Happy Hour at the house

Keeping it real:

Forget perfection. Good enough is the new bar. That means we’re giving ourselves grace on the daily, and we hope you do too.

Look for the little victories.

While we never expected life to look like this — at home, learning via Zoom, longing to see friends and faraway places — we’re embracing it.

And we’re finding silver linings:

“My daughter learned to read during this time, and I not only got to see it happen but also be a part of it.” — Emily, mother of 2, Brand, Emeryville HQ

"I've been able to spend more time with my kids, and it's been helpful to get them exposed to technology for a future where so many aspects will be virtual." — Brandon, father of 4, Maintenance, Twin Falls

“We gave our son pennies, nickels, and dimes for chores. We taught him to count the coins, add them up, and save. Then we went to the store so he could buy something with his money. I think that really empowered him and also made him have a greater understanding of how money works … even if he still asks me to buy him a toy every time we go shopping.” — Jeanine

“We’ve found new beaches in the bay area and explored all the nooks and crannies of our neighborhood!” — Melinda

“Our family ties have been strengthened as we have spent quality time with each other rather than speeding off to the next activity.” — Jared