We tip our virtual hats to all those parents who were working from home with kids in the house prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
The rest of us mere humans are doing our best to balance a new working environment, coupled with online classrooms and crowded homes with kids who are not spending their days at a physical school.
There are several areas across the nation that are allowing children to return to physical classrooms under social distancing guidelines. But for a large portion of students, much of the learning will be done at home, in front of a computer. Additionally, many parents have transitioned to working from home. If that’s you, and you are concerned that you may lose your mind; well, you are not alone.
Tips for Working from Home with Kids in The House
It is not going to be all sunshine and roses, but there may be some benefits. There may also be some tantrums. And the kids may get upset too! Here are some tips on how to make the most of working from home with kids in the house.
Open for Business and Interruptions
This one is pretty important. No one wants their zoom meeting interrupted with the classic “Hey mom/dad, watch this!” or “look what I can do!” Certainly, you want to know if something is wrong, but most other things can wait. Having a “Do not disturb” type of sign on your door or prominently displayed in your workspace is a great way to cue your kids that you are in a meeting.
Have a Daily Game Plan
When kids go off to school, their day is very structured; get up, brush teeth, eat breakfast, catch the bus… maybe not in that exact order, but you get the picture. Adults have the benefit of being in charge of their own daily schedules. You know what’s coming. Having a plan creates a sense of security and stability and children need to feel safe, especially in all the current uncertainty.
Creating a reasonable schedule that makes sense for your family could have a huge impact on your child or children, not to mention helping you stay sane. Assuming your children have some distance learning responsibilities, make sure to plan in designated times for school, studying, and breaks. Spend a quick moment in the morning telling your family about your personal schedule too, so that all expectations are clear going into the day.
Keep a Busy Box
There are some days that your workload is going to be larger than your typical schedule allots. There are also going to be days when the kids just don’t have much to do. When they get bored, working from home with kids in the house can become a serious challenge. Have a stash of activities ready to go in case of emergencies.
There are two ways to go about creating a busy box. You can have a constantly stocked supply of fun things to do, or you can keep a supply hidden in your closet so you get the surprise effect. If you go with option number two, make sure these items are not presented when your child is acting up. That is basically rewarding bad behavior. Depending on your child’s age, there are a lot of different options for items in your busy box. Here are some suggestions many of which can be found at your local discount store:
- A new book to read
- Coloring books and new crayons
- Craft paper, glue, and scissors
- Activity books with games
- Simple and inexpensive toys like bouncy balls, yoyos, or putty
Divide and Conquer Kid Time
This one is heavily dependant on your living situation. If you have a close family unit, take advantage of those resources. If you have a significant other to lean on, make sure that you are sharing responsibilities with the children. This means a discussion (away from the kids) needs to happen so that one of you is not having kid time all-day, every-day with no break.
If you have family close by that can take the kids for an hour at the park here and there, utilize those people. You can pay them back by making cookies with the kids. Or no-bakes… there is less supervising involved. You can even enlist the help of grandparents who may be far away or not excepting visitors. You just have to teach them how to use your favorite live video platform and find some games like charades or Pictionary that they can play online with the kids for a while.
Screen Time: It’s Ok to Ease Up a Bit
For as long as you can remember, you have been told that too much screen time is bad for kids. You aren’t wrong, but you also don’t have to be crazy. There are going to be times where letting the kids have their devices is going to be the best option for everyone’s sanity when you are working from home with kids in the home. Just keep a general eye on the content they are viewing, set up parental blocks if necessary, and breathe. It is going to be ok.
It’s Also About You
A big part of working from home with kids in the house is trying to figure out the best way to be a good parent and still be a productive employee without losing your mind. That last part might be the most difficult. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Find time to do the things that bring you happiness whether that is yoga, reading a book, or taking a walk.
Another quick tip: Take a dropper of Receptra Seriously Relax + Lavender to start your day. The natural CBD and passionflower can help you keep a calm focus in the chaos . . . and right now, every little bit helps!