We confront big changes to our routines as we continue to explore new ground with COVID-19, including parents having children at home while they work. While many parents have worked from home while their children were sick or out of school, the present circumstance may force us to do so for weeks (or months). If you’re still stumped on how to make this work in your family, consider the following suggestions to help you get your job done while still meeting the needs of your children.
Younger children may find it difficult to perceive you as anything other than their parents. They may not realize that even if you are at home, you will not always be available to them. Tell them about your job and why it’s essential to you.
Set a home office or designated workplace so that your children understand that you are working when they see you there.
Spend time with them
At various times during the day, give youngsters some undisturbed time. Create a daily routine that includes snack breaks, light exercise, and lunch. Breakfast is a good time to go over the day’s plan and make sure that children who can read can see it. Set a timer for smaller children so they know when their next break and time with you will be.
Give them something to do
Give the younger ones a “job.” Give them activities to do while you work, and tell them you’re both “going to work.” Provide them with a desk and work items such as markers, crayons, paper, and a glue stick. Give children tasks to complete, such as sketching images or writing tales for you, and keep activity and reading materials on hand. Allow them to share what they’ve produced or read during breaks.
Allow older children to set aside time for screen-based activities, but make sure that their calendar also includes activities like playing outside, performing housework or household duties, reading a book, or engaging in hobbies. If they don’t have any, this is a perfect opportunity to encourage them to find some. During your regular breaks, inquire about what they’ve been up to. This shows you are interested and ensures they are following the set schedule.
Do not disturb
Put a sign on your office door or desk that says “In a meeting” when you need to conduct a meeting without interruptions. Explain that the sign signifies that no one should bother you unless it’s an emergency. The visual indication will serve as a reminder that you are on the clock. Finally, if your job permits it and it won’t hurt your productivity, try working earlier in the morning or later in the evening when the kids are in bed or when another adult can help with childcare.
If this isn’t an option, schedule job activities that demand quiet and concentrated concentration when you know your children will be engaged in a fun pastime, such as during screen time.
Do not be too harsh (on yourself)
Don’t forget to take some time to relax. This is the moment to let go of your guilt and be kind to yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake or miss a goal. You’re working in a wild new environment, and getting used to it will take some time. Patience is required. Take notes on what worked and what didn’t each day to learn from it. You’ll eventually establish a rhythm that works for you, your partner, your co-workers, and your children at home.
It’s important to remember that being an involved parent and a competent employee while working from home isn’t simple. If it takes a time to figure out what works best for your family, don’t become upset or disheartened. It should make the juggling act a bit simpler for all of you as everyone gets adjusted to the new normal. Let us know in the comments what do you think about working from home and being a parent…