There is no better reward in life than becoming a parent. However, for many parents who are working from home, that statement might be up for debate right now (only joking of course). However, it is fair to say that managing working from home while having children in the house full-time, and handling their ‘remote learning’ can be difficult. Here are some strategies to help you find a better balance with your children while working from home.
- Set Expectations with Everyone.
Setting expectations is key in managing your new work schedule. It will be important to not only set expectations with your family, but with you work affiliates too. When setting expectations, it is important to be reasonable—do not set expectations that you know will be impossible to upkeep, you will need prioritize your needs.
- Expectations with Family: Communicate with your spouse and your children what your expectations are, and what you request of them. This could be certain “busy hours” or rooms and spaces that are “off limits.” Be clear in what you need. Discuss the importance of values, working hard, and being able to adapt. Make this a learning moment.
- Expectations with Work: Let your work affiliates know that you are working from home and mention if you have children. Be clear that your availability may be different and your accessibility to resources may be less than normal, but that you are equally committed to your job.
- Plan Activities to Keep Kids Busy
Although kids are taking part in distance learning, their schedules are often allowing for a lot of spare time. Come up with age- appropriate activities for your kids, that do not require the assistance of an adult. These activities can range depending on age or maturity level. See our blog post on activities for keeping kids busy during the quarantine.
- Create an Office Space
Maybe you have an at home office, maybe you don’t. Whatever your set up is at home, do your best to create a space that allows you to get work done. Maybe this is using the spare bedroom as office space or setting up a desk in your own bedroom. Perhaps it is closing off a portion of a great room. By creating a physical divide, you will help reinforce the idea to your kids that you are working when you are in your ‘office’ and your attention is going to be focused on your job.
- Stick to a Routine
Things ultimately will come up, but it is important to stick to a routine if you can. Sticking to a routine will help reinforce your expectations to your kids, and help them recognize when you are working, and when you have time to relax. You can even set small breaks throughout the day, or designate a lunch hour, but whatever you decide, pick it and stick with it.
- Take Advantage of “Adult Supervisors” from Afar
Take advantage of your children catching up with loved ones and allow them to FaceTime or call relatives and close friends on the phone. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and other adults can act as a babysitter, while also allowing your child to get in some much-needed socialization.
- Divide and Conquer with Your Spouse
Managing working and your kid’s education is going to require additional work, and someone has to do it. If you and your spouse both work, discuss with one another who is going to help the kids and when. Maybe discuss who will help the kids on a certain topic in school, or discuss specific days or times you can help out with the kids. If your spouse does not work, this is not the time to place all responsibilities on them. It is still important to give one another a break and time to relax. Come up with a plan that works for everyone.
- Be Positive
There is enough stress in the world, it is important to be positive. Look at these times positively, as the opportunity rarely comes about to be able to spend this much time with your kids. In the stressful times remind yourself how fortunate you are to still be able to work, and how lucky you are to have a healthy family that you are able to spend time with.
- Find Ways to Make Your Kids Apart of Your Routine
Naturally, children want and need some level of attention from others. Find ways to incorporate your kids into your activities—maybe invite them to do a virtual yoga or exercise class with you or let them help with cooking in the home. It can be a good opportunity to teach them a new skill, and get in valuable time, while doing things you would be doing anyway.
Whatever your new work life is looking like, these tips can help ease the stress of balancing family life and work life. And remember, it is never too late to try out new ideas or start a new routine.