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 employers were forced to adapt to a remote work setup for their employees.
Although social distancing and shelter-in-place orders tear some people apart, most families are now suddenly spending more time together at home. The prospect of this can be exciting at first, but trying to juggle your role as a parent, tutor, and employee can be nerve-racking eventually.
The sudden switch to remote school learning in early March 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 unfamiliar with a remote work arrangement. Notwithstanding, proven strategies could help achieve a bit of a balance while you work from home with your children.
Set a New Family Schedule
Things can get chaotic when kids are at home and 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 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 responsibilities such as household management and daily or weekly chores.
Create Ground Rules
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 so that they will 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.
But 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 the fact 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 helps 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.
If you have a busy career, 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 reward 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 an exemption from washing the dishes after finishing their homework. You could also treat them to pizza or a popcorn night if they were on their best behavior while you were on the phone with a client.
Set Time to Relax from Work and Parenting
Spending 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 is an important ingredient in promoting overall health and fighting depression. You can also try hobbies like sewing and create your very own minky blankets.
Be Honest with Your Boss
Be upfront with your boss if you have to make some adjustments to your work schedule to accommodate the needs of your children. Given the current global crisis that we are all facing, striking a balance between your family and work life is no longer just a personal issue but a matter we need to collectively address.
Overall, remember that you are not alone in trying to navigate the murky waters of parenting during the pandemic. So give yourself credit, smile, and remember that this shall pass.