Caring for kids at home during the lockdown with public places and activities closed is quite a challenge. Working from home during the lockdown is again quite a challenge if you are not used to doing it.
Putting the two together is like putting two explosive chemicals in a test tube and waiting for the bang. What can you do to avert the explosion? How can you attend video conferences and do your other work online while the kids are home?
In a previous post about the pandemic I stressed the importance of a routine during the pandemic (you can read that here). I think a schedule or routine is core to working at home especially with kids around. A set breakfast time will get everyone’s day started. Of course, a slight flexibility should operate. If your family had breakfast at 7 am every day during school and work, there is no harm if you have it at 8 am these days as long as you do that every day. A fixed time for meals and other activities lets you fit your work commitments. For small children a set routine also brings a feeling of comfort and security.
If you don’t have a home office, designating a corner of your living room/kitchen as your workspace is a good idea. Of course you need to re-inforce the idea repeatedly : “This is Mommy’s/Daddy’s work stuff. It’s very special etc. Nobody else can touch it.”
Dress up in work clothes.
This need not make extra work for you, just wearing some smart shoes and a jacket that you usually wear to work can do the trick. For guys, a neck-tie and for girls the lipstick/makeup they use for work, is a good idea. This gives kids a visual message that you are in work mode. It can make you feel you are in work mode too.
Use screen time & nap time to your advantage
Screen time is a fact of life in the 21st Century. Devices are the handiest baby sitters for harried parents. Conscientious parents try to limit this to a fixed duration. However, during the Corona crisis, as I read on a site called Vox, this is bound to increase. So why not use it to your advantage. Younger children nap during the day. this becomes another block of time when you can work. Here I can share another tip, getting the kids to do some physical activity makes it easier for them to nap while chocolate, candy and colas will have the opposite effect.
Swap child care
Swap care with your spouse/friend, neighbour etc, Older children can be roped in to look after younger ones in the same family. If your block is under quarantine or lockdown, your neighbours or their older teens are in the same degree of “safety” or risk as you.
Establish a reward system .
I know this sounds like bribery but all is fair in love and pandemics. Giving children a treat for good behaviour that lets you work undisturbed is not a bad idea. The treat could be a small toy or candy bar. If you think this will make kids materialistic then something like an extra hug or reading out a story or playing a game can also count as a treat. The ultimate goal here is to get your work done and simultaneously care for your children. If this means taking a few short cuts, what’s the harm? If you are a parent working from home, I would love to know how you are coping? What “tips & tricks” do you employ to successfully juggle work, kids and housework these days? I would love to know in the COMMENTS SECTION below. Please remember to LIKE and FOLLOW. Image courtesy dreamstime.