By Isaiah Stone
The COVID-19 pandemic has subdued the world, confining most of us to our neighborhoods and homes for a good part of our day. While working from home sounds like a relaxing yet productive experience, teleworking with kids at home can be more exhausting than commuting and working in an office.
The struggle of getting used to the quarantine routine with kids that require attention is one that many are going through. However, this pandemic could yield fruitful lessons for all parties within the family, especially for the parents as those who run the household, attempting to juggle all of their responsibilities.
Here are five simple lessons to consider and practice for this different lifestyle.
1. Use an Alternate Routine
If you live with another working adult, now is a good time to apply teamwork, understanding, and communication within the household.
While multitasking isn’t ideal for high productivity, it’s something you may have to deal with on a daily basis. Arrange schedules so that one can work without distractions if needed while the other works in the presence of the children.
You might have to adjust your sleep schedule to wake up earlier and work while kids are still asleep. Use this time to work on important tasks or tasks that require high concentration.
2. Work Communication is Key
Not only is communication key within the household, but it’s also crucial with those whom you’re working with. If you’ve created a new work routine with your household in mind, it is important to be clear and upfront about it with your boss and team members.
Let them know when you’ll be available and when you won’t beforehand. Communicate that you are trying as best you can to balance work and home life.
There’s a good chance that they might be going through the same situation. Assure them that you’ll keep an eye out for communications when you’re not able to give your full, undivided attention to work.
3. Create a Schedule
When you’re teleworking with kids at home, a schedule is essential — for you and them. Try to emulate a school schedule for the kids. Even on days when they don’t have school and you have to work, set a schedule for them.
Look into some activities where they’re active so they’re not sedentary all day. Think about summer camps or activities you would have enrolled them in and what kind of schedules and activities they would run.
If you can incorporate activities or skills they’re interested in, that is a huge plus because it will help keep them engaged and allow you to focus on work.
4. Set Boundaries
Start setting boundaries by designating a room or space for work. This way the children will learn to respect your space and know not to barge in when you are working.
If you do not have a separate room for work, make a sign, or use an indicator that’s easily noticeable to everyone. You can ask your younger ones to make one for you so they can realize that they helped contribute to making your work life a little bit easier.
This also goes hand-in-hand with creating a schedule for your kids. You have times for work and times for play. They may not check the schedule that you created every hour but when they see your sign or indicator, they know it’s work time. You can also refer them to the schedule when you use your indicator for work to reinforce what that signal means. When they see the indicator, that serves as a trigger to tell them not to bother you.
5. Get Some Fresh Air
There may be limitations to heading out and about, but take some time to get outside. Walk around the neighborhood outside with the proper precautions. This will help both you and your kids. It will save the kids from being cooped up inside all day and it’ll allow everyone to get some exercise.
Additionally, spending time outside appears to provide both physical and mental health benefits. Research suggests that children with ADHD see their concentration improve after spending time outdoors. Not only that, but other studies suggest that outdoor exercise also has positive effects on ADHD.
The Key Realization
Teleworking with kids at home may be a difficult situation for many of us, including the kids. Some kids may not even understand why they are stuck in their homes so much.
We don’t know how long this situation will continue nor how circumstances might change in a couple of weeks. That’s why it’s very important to set some ground rules to take care of everyone in your household.
Realize that some things may fall through the cracks but it’s possible to make things a little bit easier on yourself. We’re here doing the best we can.