4 months ago
Five Tips to Manage Work and Kids During COVID-19
How many times while driving to or from work have you said to yourself, “I feel so guilty for leaving the kids today” or “I wish I had more time with them”? Fast forward to today where we are with our spouse, children and pets 24/7; unsure of when our lives will return to normal.
It is true, we are amid uncertain times, but take a moment to remember that conversation you had with yourself not that long ago, where you wanted to spend more time at home. Find the silver lining and embrace these moments. This too shall pass and soon enough we will return to our regular hustle and grind.
Whether you are new to working from home or are a seasoned expert, it can be challenging to efficiently complete your work while your children are not in school. Below are five tips to manage work, kids, and their schoolwork while at home during COVID-19.
CREATE A SCHEDULE (For you and the kids)
Creating and keeping to a schedule is key. As we outlined in our blog, 5 tips to successfully work from home, maintaining your regular schedule is important so you can stay on track. But, don’t just create a schedule for yourself. Just as a teacher creates a schedule for the classroom, it is important for your family to create a schedule as well.
Depending on the age of your child, the schedule might need to be broken down into 15-, 20- or 30-minute blocks. Allot time for education, exercise, meals, naps, reading, recess and screen time (leisure and virtual play dates). Post your schedule where everyone can see it, along with a clock, so the entire family understands what is expected throughout the day. It may take a few days to adjust, but once you do – it will help bring balance back to your household.
REWARD GOOD BEHAVIOR
Once you have created your family schedule, it’s time to talk about it. You cannot over-communicate the schedule, especially with younger children at home. Make sure everyone is aware of expectations and remind them how much you appreciate them following the schedule.
For example, if you have an important call from 10 – 11 a.m. calmly remind your children you have something very important to do and you have scheduled a fun activity for them at that time. Let them know as soon as it is over, you have something else planned for them. This will help your children understand what is expected of them during the call while giving them something to look forward to. If your children were quiet during your call, reward their good behavior. Tell them how wonderful they did and give them attention for a job well done. This positive reinforcement will help them continue good behavior in the future.
PLAN FOR INTERRUPTIONS
Creating a daily schedule will help limit the bumps and thumps of a bored child. Try to schedule important meetings during your child’s screen or nap time. Planning is key, but this is real life – interruptions are bound to happen. Make a Plan B!
For important meetings or calls, create options to pivot if you’re interrupted. Consider:
- Putting the call on mute
- Telling colleagues you will rejoin the call in a moment
- Asking your spouse to watch the children during the call
- Taking the kiddos for a walk during the call if you don’t need to be in front of your computer
- Keeping a coloring book or toy nearby for a quick distraction
It doesn’t have to be super clever but having a Plan B established before the distraction arises will help reduce your frustrations during an already challenging time.
DON’T FORGET TO HAVE A LITTLE FUN
You may have become more generous with your children’s screen time limits recently – and that’s ok. It is a wonderful tool, but you don’t want to abuse it. Depending on the ages of your children and their personalities, they may get bored. Make sure you are scheduling parent/child playtime to break up the day. When you create your family schedule, include multiple recess breaks – this will help everyone get through the long days.
Make recess fun! Schedule activities that you can easily start and end within the allocated recess time. Examples include:
- Play a game
- Work on a puzzle
- Create a backyard or neighborhood scavenger hunt
- Host a dance party
- Take your pet on a walk
There is nothing like burning some extra energy while spending quality time together.
GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
No one is perfect – we are all figuring this out day-by-day. Plan the best you can, communicate expectations with your family, and give yourself a little grace. Make this time together special because soon enough we will be back at work, wishing we could have a random 2 p.m. dance party with our kids.
For more information and additional resources, please subscribe to our blog and visit our COVID-19 resource page to learn how One Call is responding to this pandemic.