It’s safe to say that successfully working from home with the kids has been one of the major challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was never going to be an easy task, but parents around the world are slowly getting used to juggling hands-on childcare with packed inboxes and Zoom calls.
What’s more, there are quite a few tactics you can employ to make it easier, and ensure that when you have an important meeting, it won’t be constantly interrupted by plaintive calls for “Mummm” or “Daaaad” in the background.
Here are five of our top tips:
Make a Schedule
As with many aspects of parenting, creating a day-to-day schedule is key to surviving working from home with kids. This doesn’t mean putting together a rigid hour-by-hour itinerary, however — every parent knows that even the best laid plans will often be disrupted by the little ones.
But routine is super important to children during their formative years, so a schedule should stop them becoming restless, assist their development and make sure they feel secure during uncertain times. Ahead of time, plan out a strong balance of activities and meals that align with your work schedule, and ensure you have all the supplies required.
Rope in Friends and Family
It takes a village, right? And while we might not always be able to see our “village” in the midst of the pandemic, this shouldn’t change your loved ones’ relationship with your little ones. Rope in granny or grandad, or even a good friend, to conduct reading sessions or other virtual activities with the kids over Skype or FaceTime while you’re working.
This way, they’ll be supervised, spending quality time with a loved one, and — fingers crossed — remain quiet and busy for an hour or two. What’s more, the adults involved will most likely love the change in their routine too.
Save the Kids’ Favourite Activities for Your Meetings
In an ideal world, children would be quiet and peaceful for as long as you need them to be. But in the real world this can take a little bribery. Whether their favourite autonomous activity is a beloved toy, a special book, a video game, or access to a favourite YouTube channel, save it for when you really, seriously need an hour or two of peace and quiet. This could be an important meeting with your boss, or simply a task that demands your full concentration.
Gamify Your Work Time for the Kids
When children are asked not to disturb mum or dad due to work hours, this can sometimes act a bit like a red rag to a bull. Funnily enough, the hours they know you need them to stay away are often the exact hours they suddenly become super clingy — right?
One way to handle this situation is by gamifying your work hours for your children. Simply put, make it fun and involve them. Why not ask your kids to write out and decorate your working hours – and do not disturb times – to stick to your office door? Another option is a star chart where the children get a treat for every week they haven’t disturbed you during office hours.
Create an Arts and Crafts Space
When it comes to keeping the little ones occupied, arts and crafts is the gift that keeps on giving. Give them time, and they’ll inevitably get bored of specific toys or games, but with art there’s a whole world of imagination to explore.
Create a dedicated arts and crafts space, complete with plastic sheeting, to ensure safety during arts and crafts sessions and that you won’t return to paint splatters all over the walls and carpet. Set the space up with the supplies you’re comfortable with them having, and when you need to disappear into your work for an hour, give them a project to work on.
Working from home can be challenging during the best of times, and adding kids and a pandemic into the mix can make it incredibly overwhelming. Follow these 5 tips to ensure you keep your little ones occupied and also have dedicated time to be productive.