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What do you do if your baby wakes up while teaching?

Imagine this! You are in your classroom teaching your favorite little student and your eyes widen as you hear the sad cries of your sweet new born baby. What do you do? While this is not ideal and nobody plans on this happening while they are teaching, it does happen. Don't worry, you aren't alone! In this post you will find some helpful tips if your baby wakes up while you are teaching. 

Nancy is not immune to this happening as well. Check out this video to see what happens when baby Jack wakes up during class when her husband is not home. 

 

 

Now I want to tell you one thing first, give yourself time to heal and get used to life with a newborn. You will need some time to rest with all the late night feedings and constant outfit changes. Give yourself permission to slow down and/or take a break with teaching. The beauty of working for VIPKID is that your hours are very flexible so take advantage of this during this time. 

Preventive Measures

Here are a few things you can do before class starts to help take some of the stress away incase baby wakes up while you are teaching. 

1- Have someone else home during teaching time. Only open up classes that you know you will have someone home to take care of the baby if he wakes up. This puts a little more control over the situation and will ease your mind so you can teach. 

2- Use a monitor to hear and see the baby. This will help you determine if you need to get them right away or if you can finish the class first. 

2-  Have a bottle, food, toys, blanket, bouncer, etc. ready in your classroom, just in case. Now you obviously can't nurse or change a poopy bum during the lesson - unless you are teaching the word "horrified" (totally kidding). But you can take care of most needs off screen without distracting from the lesson. Think of the boy scout motto and "Be prepared!"

3- Build a schedule with baby (wake up baby before classes, feed, back to sleep, teach). Newborns come with needs that vary from day to day, and even hour to hour. As your baby gets older you can start implementing a schedule while they are still feeding at night. Wake up baby before class starts, change the diaper, feed and put back to sleep. Do this at the same time each night for consistency. Eventually the night feedings will stop (I know it doesn't feel that way) and you will get to start and finish teaching before baby even opens her eyes. 

 

Go time!

Alright! You have done everything you can to prevent this from happening but now it's here. Baby has woken up during class and he is not happy. What do you do? 

  1.  WAIT. First determine if you need to intervene. If you only have a few minutes in class, you can wait to get baby. Take a look in the monitor to make sure everything is ok and finish the class. I always wait for 5 minutes before getting my crying baby. This has helped them self sooth and buys me some time in class. If they baby cries longer than 5-10 minutes then you should probably go and get them before your mommy heart bursts. 
  2. Contact fireman - let them know what is happening.  There isn't a guideline of rules to follow if your baby wakes up but one thing VIPKID stresses is to contact the fireman in case of an emergency. This will help the student and the teacher know what to do next. 
  3. Tell the student. I would type in the chat box "One minute. My baby is crying" and I would tell the student before I left my classroom. This will help them see that you will be coming back.
  4. Refresh the screen (camera and audio off). You will want the video and sound off when you reenter the classroom until the baby is settled. 

Last Resort:

So baby is awake and not going back to sleep anytime soon. Shucks! Time to make it work as you finish teaching and simultaneously sooth baby. Here are some tips to help.

  1. -Try to have baby off screen. This can be in your lap, baby pack-n-play, swing or a bouncer. Just be sure to have all sounds and music turned off.
  2. Provide what the baby needs without distracting from the lesson. Give them a bottle, or pick up the binkie they dropped. Just be sure to try and focus on the lesson while the baby is there. 
  3. Tell in the feedback that there was a baby in the classroom. Be honest with the parents and student so they know what happened. I like to tell them that it was an emergency (so they don't think this happens regularly), and that thanks to their amazing student - we were able to complete the objectives and finish the lesson. Am I buttering them up? Maybe a little but I do want to give them credit for sticking it out in a not-so-ideal situation. 

Older Kids:

In addition to my baby, I have 7 and 4 year old boys. There have definitely been moments when they have woken up early to come and see me teach. Here are some things that have helped. Now, this wasn't learnt over night. Believe me! This was a lot of trial and error! But eventually we had our rules and systems in place. 

  • Set expectations and routines. Before anyone has a chance to interrupt my class I tell my kids what I want them to do. For me, I tell my boys to go back to bed (or just stay in their room) until a certain time, then eat breakfast, and then you can (gasp) watch a cartoon. They can only come down if it's an emergency. If they do come to my classroom they know to follow the rules to be quiet and stay off camera.
  • Have them help you. If baby wakes up, I will have the boys go in and read her a book or sing a song until I get there. This helps all the kids stay out of my hair until I can finish the lesson.
  • Have something ready I have a spare whiteboard a few legos in my classroom just in case someone has to be with mom. They know the rules but sometimes they just need their mama. Someone had a bad dream, another one wet the bed, "Mom, I feel sick".... You get the idea. Sometimes staying away is not possible so have a quiet activity ready but don't get in the habit of doing this everyday. Make it clear what they should do next time. 
  • Give rewards. Just like we give stars to our students for doing what we want, give your kids a reward for following the rules. I will usually give them a chocolate chip, a big hug, a few minutes of screen time on my phone. Let them know that they did a good job and it was very helpful for you. 

 

And that's it. Hopefully this advice serves you will as you navigate the tricky balance of motherhood and teaching. Just remember to find joy in the journey. Crossing my fingers for each of you new mama's that baby stays asleep during class time. Bye friends! 

-Teacher Stephanie 

 

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