Mastering the Art of Working at Home — While Under Quarantine With Your Children
As the new coronavirus continues to shape our lives for the foreseeable future, people around the world are adjusting to new routines. Working from home is the new normal for those who are able, and the transition from an office full of coworkers to a home office isn’t always easy. Parents have an additional layer of difficulty: kids who are also home from school.
Keeping up with your own workload can be tiring enough, but it’s even harder when you’re responsible for keeping your children educated, entertained and safe. Use these tips and tricks to keep everyone in your household on track.
1. Be honest with colleagues
If you’re afraid of disruptions and distractions, or need to schedule meetings around eating schedules and naptime, let the people you’re working with know. Chances are, they’ll completely understand that background noise is a possibility when kids are around.
You might be surprised to find that many other parents are struggling with the same issues, too.
2. Learn to be more empathetic with yourself and your children
Recognize that there will be disruptions to your work, and that you’ll have to be flexible in how work gets done. This is especially true if you have younger kids who may not understand why they need to be quiet during a phone call, for example.
3. Take advantage of nap times
Speaking of naps, they can be a great time to get in some focused work time. While there will always be times when naps don’t happen according to plan, these longer stretches of quiet time can at least be semi-predictable.
4. Adjust your schedule as needed
Creative scheduling can be a lifesaver during these uncertain times. Consider waking up before your children so that you can knock some items off your to-do list. If you’re more of a night owl, set aside some time in the evening. This has the added benefit of freeing up time to spend with your kids during the day.
5. Embrace screen time
Sometimes, you just need to distract your kids with whatever will keep their attention, even if it’s a tablet or television. Letting them watch an episode or two of their favorite show could provide the time you need to finally finish that big presentation, so try not to feel too guilty about being more lax with screen time.
6. Create a schedule for schooling
Routines are so important, for kids and adults alike. If you’re now responsible for helping your children keep up with their schoolwork, establishing a routine is even more essential.
Many parents have turned to homeschooling schedules and online learning tools. Some providers are waiving fees during the coronavirus outbreak, and a quick online search will connect you to plenty of resources. Your child’s school may also have online learning resources and other helpful tools available, so take full advantage of any support.
7. Make a plan with your spouse or partner
If you have help from a spouse or partner who is also stuck at home right now, it’s time to make a plan for how childcare responsibilities will be shared.
For example, you might make sure no overlapping meetings are scheduled so that someone is always available to step in. On the personal side, divide and conquer daily tasks like cooking, cleaning and other chores.
8. Again, be gentle with yourself
Remember that you’re trying your best to juggle work, childcare and schooling, and that’s all any parent can do right now. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and try to use this time as an opportunity to work on creating a healthy work-life balance.