Things changed pretty quickly when the world’s leading expert in health, the World Health Organization, declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. Schools were canceled, brick-and-mortar stores were ordered closed, and many employees were forced to adapt to a remote work setup.
Although these social distancing and shelter-in-place orders tore some people apart, most families are now suddenly spending more time together at home. The prospect of this may be exciting at first, but trying to juggle your role as a parent, tutor, and employee can be nerve-wracking eventually.
The sudden switch to remote school learning in early March somehow prepared parents for at-home learning. Online tutors and teachers are readily available, but the reality remains that the majority of the burden falls to parents. This is an enormous challenge for parents since most do not have experience as an educator.
Apart from this, transitioning to a new work setup can be difficult, especially for workers who are unfamiliar with a remote work arrangement. Still, there are proven strategies that could help you achieve a little bit of a balance while working from home with your children.
Set a New Family Schedule
Things can get chaotic, and when kids are at home, parents are trying to juggle work, homeschool, meals, and chores.
With no access to daycare centers, babysitters, and camps that normally cater parents’ need for assistance to get through a day, sitting down with your family and planning on a whole new game plan works for the best.
Coordinate with your partner and kids on a new routine and schedule. Have a regular weekly meeting to assess the efficiency of your new game plan. Divide on responsibilities such as household management and daily or weekly chores.
Create Ground Rules with Your Kids
When you are physically present in the house, most kids, and even adults, take this as a sign that you are available 24/7.
Explaining the situation to your children helps a lot. Talk about your work arrangement and make them feel they are part of the team to understand that you need to be productive while at work.
Set some ground rules that you are not to be disturbed at certain hours or that they need to quiet down when you are at a Zoom conference.
Be Realistic with Your Expectations
When you have little ones who constantly crave for your attention even when you are not working, do not expect them to just sit quietly in the corner, coloring their books, or peacefully taking a nap. Accept that you will have to adjust your expectations of what you can accomplish within a day.
Have a Dedicated Work and School Space
Designating “work stations” for each family member help you stay focused and productive throughout your work-from-home stint. However, creating this structure would largely depend on the living space size and number of people living in the house.
Say you have a busy career working as a mortgage broker, consider using a spare room in your house as a home office. That way, you ensure you have minimal interruptions.
Use Incentives If You Have to
Do not be afraid to apply a rewards system to your children. Keep them occupied by setting goals for them. Kids love to know that they will get something after working hard on a task.
Offer incentives like exemption from washing dishes after finishing homework. You could also treat them to pizza or a popcorn night if they are on their best behavior while you were on the phone with a client.
Set Time to Relax from Work and Parenting
Spending all your time at home can eventually get stuffy. Take regular breaks with your family, even if it is just a thirty-minute break out in the sun. Sunlight helps trigger the production of Vitamin D in our bodies. This vitamin is an important ingredient in promoting overall health and fighting depression.
Be Honest with Your Boss
Be upfront with your boss if you have to make some adjustments with your work schedule to accommodate the needs of your children. Given the current global crisis, striking a balance between a family and work-life is no longer just a personal issue but a community matter we need to collectively address.
Considering all these tips, keep in mind that you are not alone trying to navigate this murky water of parenting during this Coronavirus pandemic. And what matters is you try to spend quality time with your kids. So give yourself some credit. Smile and remember that this too shall pass.