How to work from home with children during coronavirus outbreak and remain sane? Mission possible or impossible? Not all parents were ready for COVID – 19 quarantine and social isolation. Therefore, now they will have to work in the company of children who constantly want the attention of adults. At the same time, schools closed and lessons are online, which is an additional stress and pressure.
It is difficult enough to stay focused and concentrated when working from home with children and it is even more difficult with babies and toddlers. Still, with good organization everything is possible. Here are some useful tips how to work from home with your children and not lose your mind.
Working at home with children requires a good planning and strict organization. Even if you imagined that you will be on the couch with a laptop all day, you will quickly find out that this is impossible. Remember that if your child sees you in shorts or pajamas, it is difficult to take your work seriously. That is why you should try to equip a workplace and think of proper clothes.
Explain the situation to the children
Try to explain to your kids that you need to devote time to work. Of course, this will not make him small kids sit quietly, but at least a periodic lack of involvement in communication will not be a drama. Another important thing that you need to explain is that you are not just sitting at the computer (this is what your child actually sees). Show them your work files – texts, reports, spreadsheets, etc. It is a good idea to talk to your children about the corona virus, especially to older children who can better understand the effects of the virus on your life.
Get help if you can and share responsibilities with your partner
Social distancing and isolation are a challenge for everyone – children and adults. There is nothing wrong if you asked for help. If you have a family member who can stay isolated with you, this will allow you do most of the work. If you and your partner work from home, divide the time with the children. This may apply to cooking, games, intellectual activities, preparation for bed. This will help you follow the schedule and be calmer.
Set rules and limits
It is important to set limits for your children when you work from home, especially when they are of school age. You have to explain to your children that this is a special situation and everyone has special duties. Due to the fact that almost all schools are closed and teachers are working on-line, your children will need to do their schoolwork as well. It will be a good idea to organize a “working space” of their own for doing homework and schoolwork. Create a schedule for school time, TV time and games.
Make sure you think of a signaling system for emergency situations. For example, when you are talking with a colleague or manager on the phone you need to show to the kids that you should not be disturbed. Think of special signs and rehearse them with the kids, for example, “Thumbs up, thumbs down” work really well. As a craft project you can make red stop sign and a green start sign together with the kids. If the child sees a stop sign, he will know that it should not interrupt you unless it is urgent.
Separate work from household chores
Multitasking is not an option when you work from home. Yes, children need breakfast, lunch and dinner, they need attention and the house needs to be cleaned and that is where planning comes to help! Trying to manage all housework, cooking and baking at the same time will surely drive you mad. All washing, ironing or cooking can be done after your working time. Ask the children to help you. This will keep them engaged and at the same time involved in household chores. Kids can dust the furniture, help you with dinner, sett eh table, etc.
Adapt your working hours to your family needs
Due to the specific coronavirus conditions, most companies understand the force majeure circumstances and are flexible about working hours. You can start early in the morning while the children are still sleeping, at midday and finish late in the afternoon. Yes, it is not ideal, but you will be more productive if you can work calmly without shouting at the kids all the time.
Try new activities
Think of arts and crafts that kids can do by themselves while you are busy with work. During the coronavirus shutdown many parents are facing the challenge of working from home and trying to keep their children busy and entertained. There are numerous kids craft ideas that do not require your presence all the time. Playdough, paper crafts, button crafts, coloring pages – all these will allow you to take your calls and manage your work. Board games, age-appropriate puzzles, Lego – these are ideal activities that kids can do by themselves and play together and keep them occupied.
Encourage kids to communicate with friends
While the period of social distance and the coronavirus isolation lasts, is will not be easy for both adults and children. Encourage your kids to stay in touch with friends. They will be able to discuss the situation with their friends and not feel o isolated.
Finally, we have to say that despite the coronavirus shutdown, parents need to remain sane! This is a situation that no one is prepared for so you need to remain as calm as possible. Remember that you are not a bad mom (or dad), no matter how you feel. You are not alone and there are many people who are in the same situation. You do not have to choose between children and work. You simply have to combine them. It is normal for you to do less work than usual when sitting with your children. After all you are not Superman and nobody expects you to be. Do not forget that you have to let kids be kids, so go easier on them!