The coronavirus outbreak means things are changing quickly every day, and most of us have seen our typical routines turned upside down. This means many working parents are facing an unprecedented situation: working from home with kids and without access to the camps, babysitters, or even playdates. We face the prospect of being quarantined for a few weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic, and many of us are bound to find this very challenging. Here are some tips on how to balance your career and children while working from home.
Create a daily routine
Structure works at home for the same reason it works in schools: kids feel comfortable and assured because they know what to expect. Maintaining a daily routine will help everyone stay occupied and manage some of the anxiety caused by this big change. Go ahead and write out a schedule (including which parent is on primary kid duty if you’re trading off) and pin it to the wall or the refrigerator so kids can refer to it throughout the day.
Take advantage of high-quality streamed content
As a source of kid entertainment, podcasts are highly underrated. And there are so many podcasts that kids can learn a lot from, sometimes without even realizing it. Streaming a few episodes while the kids are colouring or playing with Legos may keep them engaged in whatever they’re doing – and out of your hair – longer.
Allow your kids to make some choices
Giving children the ability to choose some of their own activities and self-serve meals and snacks helps build independence—and allows you to get more unbroken time for work. While older children can pull out and put away activities on their own, toddlers will need a little more help. Consider setting up activity stations for them to choose from. This can be as simple as opening up the bottom cupboards in the kitchen, making a pile of clean socks for them to match, or putting playdough on the coffee table.
Invest in a little extra time together
Working for a few hours in the early morning or evening gives you the opportunity to take breaks during the day. Make sure each adult in the house also has downtime to themselves. Parents who work while managing children are always on, and that can take a toll on everyone’s patience and energy levels. If you have the option to take a longer lunch break or close your laptop for 15 minutes in the middle of the afternoon, take advantage.
Juggling work and childcare is an intense but survivable experience. Many remote workers successfully navigate this reality every day. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every family. Give yourself grace, and realize the beginning is going to be tougher while you get into a rhythm. Use the resources available to you and try different approaches and solutions until you find the best mix for your family. With a little bit of planning, lots of discussion, and an adaptable attitude, you’ll be able to better weather the coronavirus stint at home with the kids.
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