How to Work from Home with Kids and Stay Sane 

How to Work from Home with Kids and Stay Sane 

Thanks to Covid-19 many people around the world are now working from home and most schools & childcare are closed for the foreseeable futureit's a daunting time for those with kids who still need to work... and stay sane!  

The juggle for working parents is already well documented, but throw in home schooling and the potential of being locked into the house together... well it’s hard not to panic! 

Thankfully there are loads of resources out there to help find the balance between working from home, looking after your kids and keeping sane 

 

1. Tell your kids what’s going on! 

It’s a confusing time for children, routines are changing, and it may be difficult for them to understand why they’re off school, but not allowed to go out and have fun or see friends. Explaining to kids what’s going on when most of us are feeling pretty lost ourselves can feel like a challenge in itself. 

One example from CNN  is to use Frozen characters to help explain social distancing to younger children. “Elsa had to stay away from her sister to keep her sister safe”. 

 Frozen-working-from-home-with-kids-and-stayingsane-coronavirus

Image Source: The National Arts & Culture 

 It’s helpful to explain to your kids that although it might feel like another weekend or an extended holiday because they aren’t at school and everyone is at home, these are unusual circumstances and you really are trying to work. 

Many schools will provide information about talking to your children at this time, but if you are struggling with how to talk to your children about Covid-19 there are some tips here

 

2. Establish a routine 

  • Replicate a normal school day  

This will help in setting boundaries and keeping some form of normality. For older kids, they may well have work to do set by their school, however, younger children will need more guidance with learning, playing and regular breaks set out clearly. 

  • Create a colour chart that everyone can see 

Create a schedule that you can stick on the wall, for everyone to see. You could use pictures for smaller kids, or print out a simple, color-coded excel like this one.  

 Daily-schedule-working-from-home-with-kids-and-stayingsane-coronavirus

Source: Mommyhood101 

  • Plan their activities to match your schedule 

Some activities will engage your kids more than others!  

Schedule the ones that are most likely to occupy themselves with for the longest times when you need to be the most productive. This should help reduce the amount of disturbance you get during these times. 

Obviously, for much smaller kids this is harder as they generally need constant supervision, but this is where YouTube Kids is your friend! 

  • Set up a reward system  

Reward them when they follow directions and keep to their schedule, this will reinforce the need for routine during these times. This could be stickers for younger kids, screen time for older ones. Or let’s face it, cold hard chocolate buttons as and when required! 

  • Make sure you get outside

If it's safe to do so, try to get outside at least once a day. It could be after breakfast, at the time you'd normally commute, or after lunch. It could be a scoot or a jog around the block (depending on the ages of your children) a trip to the park for a runaround. Fresh air will keep everyone sane and set you up nicely for the day/afternoon.

 

Set Boundaries - but be Flexible 

  • Screen Time 

Although setting restrictions on how much technology your kids can use each day is important, it might be helpful to allow these restrictions to loosen slightly during the time when everybody is stuck inside, and you need to work.  

However, it’s worth explaining (especially with older kids) that this is a special thing that won’t go on forever. 

Also, consider what they are watching/playing. There are loads of amazing games and apps and shows all designed to help kids learn without realising! 

  • Do not disturb mode” 

A great example comes from Courtney Connley who had her child make a ‘stop’ and ‘go’ sign to go in front of her office door. This way he knows when the stop sign is showing he shouldn't come in unless it’s an emergency, and with the go sign showing, he is free to come in. 

This allows you to have space where you can have private time, which is respected by your kids – especially effective if the child has made the stop and go signs themselves during an ‘art project’! 

  • Take breaks 

You might feel pressured to overextend yourself while working remotely to prove that you’re working, but it’s essential that you take breaks throughout your working day.  

You can regulate this in several ways, but one idea is to take a ten-minute break for every hour that you’ve been focused on work. 

It’s also important to speak to your boss if you feel you need extra support or a bit of a break. This is again critical when thinking about your colleagues, offer support to your team who may also need a break!  

It’s a strange time and everyone is in a similar boat so there shouldn’t be any judgment.  

 

3. Teamwork Where Possible 

  • Alternate shifts with your partner 

If you and your partner are both working from home, it can be useful to alternate shifts with them to make life easier with kids at home.  

This can be done on a schedule of splitting the days up into chunks – allocating hours for one half to work and make calls, and the other to watch the kids and keep them occupied, making up any lost work hours earlier or later in the workday, or at weekends if necessary. 

  • Set up virtual babysitters 

Physical playdates and babysitters may not be an option whilst everyone is practicing social distancing, however, virtual ones certainly are! 

It’s a great time to reach out to friends, family, and babysitters to arrange virtual playdates over a video call. Having someone else around to keep your children occupied, even if this is over the phone or video callcan be really useful in allowing you to successfully work from home and keep in touch with Granny and Grandpa! 

Virtual babysitting can encompass a range of activities from reading, playing games, singing, dancing and more, which can all take place easily online /– just make sure your child is in a safe place and you have a half an eye on what’s going on. 

  • Know any Teachers? 

Many teachers who are now off duty, are offering their services to friends, family and the local community to assist parents with questions, issues or inspiration as required. For those lacking confidence in home schooling, let alone home schooling and working they could prove truly valuable support. 

 

4. Keeping your Kids Busy 

So, you’ve got some tips on managing working from home with kids, but when it comes to actually keeping the kids busy, you’ll need some solid resources! Here’s a great place to start... 

Resource Facebook Groups 

These all have some great ideas and tips for how to keep some control in these crazy times and would be a great support network if you’re the only one in your company working from home with kids! 

Teacher Approved Resources 

General 

  

English 

  

Maths 

  play-shops-working-from-home-with-kids-and-stayingsane-coronavirus

 

Science 

 

Foundation Subjects 

 5-minute-mum-working-from-home-with-kids-and-stayingsane-coronavirus

PE 

We really hope you are managing to get some work done and all stay sane at this strange and troubling time. If in doubt cuddle your kids, play with them, read with them and work whilst they sleep and watch TV. Good luck everyone 

Social Media Administrator Freya Simmons

Freya is our word wizard and seems to have beautiful words stored in her hands just ready to fall out onto a page. Lucky for us she has chosen to share her skill with us to write job descriptions, blogs and social media posts to make everything you see as enjoyable as possible. Her favourite things to do around Brighton are visits to Devils Dyke and Ditchling Beacon to enjoy the wonderful scenery so with this and her love of words we imagine that in another life she would’ve been the heroine in a Jane Austin novel or Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

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