During this time, a lot of schools and kindergartens got closed meaning that kids will have to stay home for at least a couple of weeks, which may be good news for the kids but certainly not for their parents who also got sent to work from home during the quarantine period.
Technically, the situation couldn’t have been better - children now get to spend more time with their parents, right? Wrong. Having to work from home for a day or two when your kid got sick is an experience many of us have had - and it’s rather manageable. Working from home and looking after children for an extended period of time, on the other hand, is a real challenge.
It’s a skill you need to learn - and here are 5 simple tips to assist you in the process of managing your work and kids more effectively.
Being on quarantine and your working from home might send a wrong signal to your kids - they might think every day is a holiday now, which is clearly not the case. Therefore, what you need to do first is explain to your kids that “mommy/daddy is not on vacation” and that you cannot dedicate all your free time to them. You’ve been sent home to work for at least 8 hours a day and that’s the time you’d better be left alone.
Having organized yourself, you need to organize your kids next. Since kids do not operate on the same level of understanding as adults, simple explaining and reasoning might not be enough.
What will really help is creating a schedule that will work for both you, your partner, and your kids. Try recreating the schedule you had before you went on quarantine - this will make it easier for everyone to get used to it.
Here’s a sample schedule for your kid:
7 am - wake up
7:30 am - washing up/breakfast
8 am to 11 am - reading/studying
11 am - playtime
12 pm - lunch
1 pm to 3 pm - nap time
3 pm to 5 pm - playtime
5 pm - reading/homework
6 pm - dinner
7 pm - bath/preparing to go to bed
8:30 pm - bedtime
One important thing - you have to control your kids and make them actually follow that schedule, which will require a few days of tweaking, depending on how disciplined your kid is.
If you’re working from home and have to look after your kids at the same time, tell your colleagues and your boss about it.
First of all, there’s nothing wrong about being open with your workmates, especially if it concerns your work directly. Secondly, this will help you to avoid awkward situations like your kid suddenly dancing and screaming in the background while you’re on Skype.
If your kids are school-aged, it shouldn’t pose a big problem - they should understand. For pre-school kids and toddlers especially, it could get more difficult due to them not being able to grasp the concept of “working from home.” In this case, you should use the old-fashioned trick of turning it into a game where you set the rules. One thing you have to keep in mind: do not go all dramatic on your kids. Just tell them they can always call you when they need you while trying to keep them busy with games and/or other activities.
Again, the schedule we mentioned before should also help. Once the kids get used to it, you can ease your grip on them, stop worrying and focus on work.
Decide who’s gonna make breakfast, walk the dog, wash the dishes, play with your child, go to the grocery store, and so on. Again, a nice little plan won’t hurt. If you have other relatives living with you in the house, why not involve them too? These days, any extra help will be appreciated and help your family become a tighter unit.