Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Family Struggles To Share One Computer

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am at home with my kids, like everybody is supposed to be. One of the challenges we are having is with the computer. My kids have been doing distance learning, which means that they have to go online to join Zoom classes or other “face-to-face” classes with their teachers, but we have only one computer. That means that sometimes one kid can go to class while the other can’t. Plus, I have to do my work from home. I am missing some deadlines because I’m competing with my kids for use of the computer. This is an impossible situation. I need my kids to learn, and I need to work to be able to keep a roof over our heads. What do you recommend? -- One Computer

DEAR ONE COMPUTER: School systems across the country are navigating this new educational front the best they can, but it does have glitches. Many families don’t even have one computer in the home or the Wi-Fi necessary to access online classrooms. Some school systems have been providing computers for students, but as you point out, that has not typically meant a computer per child if there is more than one child in a household.

Get in touch with your children’s school(s) and share your challenges. I am sure you are not alone. The more data the schools gather about computer usage and needs, the more able they will be to make adjustments that work for the student body and families.

Similarly, you should speak to your supervisor and explain what you are facing with computer use -- and likely internet capacity. Talk about your situation and ask for some flexibility. As long as you are communicating openly, you have a chance of getting everyone to work with you.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am an event planner. As you might imagine, I have lost all of my contracts because nobody is allowed to have gatherings right now. Since it is unclear when events will be allowed again, I have to figure out what to do to earn a living. I am so worried, it is hard for me to think. I know that people are still going to get married, so eventually weddings will come back. Maybe the corporate events, too. But right now I need to think of something else. Do you have any ideas? -- Pivot Plan

DEAR PIVOT PLAN: In extreme times, we need our creativity more than anything. Think about your clients. Beyond the weddings -- which do need to be delayed -- do any of your corporate clients have the need to create virtual engagements? That seems to be the wave of the future. Spend some time envisioning your clients’ needs and how they might be fulfilled by designing events that can occur by using technology to connect others. Develop a proposal that illustrates how you can bring these events to life for them. The more focused and organized you are in your visionary presentation, the more poised you are to keep your clients.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)