For those of us working from home with kids, we are all wondering how we will continue to stay productive. Here’s some advice for parents who are embarking on the new work-at-home way of life for the next few weeks.
Set Up a Workstation: First, find a room with a door you can shut, if possible. Even a table in a bedroom is preferable to working at a kitchen table. Parents with babies or toddlers may choose to set up shop in a child’s bedroom or play area to keep an eye on them. Getting a headset with a noise canceling microphone and mute button is helpful to block out children and dogs during calls.
Divvy Up Child Care: Are there two adults working from home or an older child who can look after young ones for a few hours? If so, make sure to alternate shifts. If possible, work outside of non-traditional hours. Maybe start your day a little earlier so that you can take a longer break during the day with the children.
Establish Ground Rules: Set your alarm for the same time every day. Schedule lunch and create structure for your children. Assign them to a YouTube workout or Go noodle dance session to burn energy! Make sure to explain to your children that you have work to get done, they can help by giving you quiet time. Set a timer, when the timer goes off promise to play a card game or something fun with them afterward. Or make a sign “open” or “closed” to allow you to meet deadlines or attend virtual meetings. Put together some type of daily schedule for the children.
Set a Schedule: This way you and your children know what the day will look like, otherwise everyday will feel like it’s Saturday or Sunday. A schedule helps to keep some organization in the children’s day as well and all around everyone will feel better!
Let Them Be: Help your children cultivate freedom and independence by learning how to entertain themselves with books, crafts or imaginary play. Don’t feel like you must monitor and do every activity with them. Provide easy to grab snacks and drinks on a lower shelf in the fridge. Some ideas: cheese sticks, bagged carrots/celery/grapes, apple sauce, or oranges.
Communicate: People still need to call each other to stay connected. Maximize your touch points. Using multiple video communication channels to stay in touch – Teams, Google Duo and Zoom can help avoid misunderstandings. Body language and tone get lost in email.
Lighten Up: Most importantly don’t feel bad your children are getting a little extra screen time. This is temporary and it’s okay to bend the rules.