Today we wanted to zoom in on something that many of us might be struggling with right now – working from home with kids during Coronavirus.
Solopreneurs and gig workers have been working from home for a long time. And many of them have been successfully juggling that work while young children are at home too.
But now the COVID-19 emergency has thrust a whole new population into their homes, at a time when daycare centres and schools are also closed. These are people who are used to going to an outside place where there are no home distractions. Adjusting to this new workplace is hard.
If you are in this situation, or if you are just a new work-from-home parent by choice, here are some key tips for survival and productivity. Here’s are some tips on working from home with kids during Coronavirus:
Develop a schedule
If your children are school-age, there may be schedules in place for their online learning activities. If that’s the case, set your work schedule to coincide with their schooling times. While you may face some interruptions, they will not be as numerous.
One interruption you may have as your kids are “schooling from home” is that you may have to set aside time to help them with their school work. Find online sources for help that they can use – Kahn Academy, for example. If they have writing assignments with which they struggle, look for the best writing websites where they can get help. There are also specific websites that provide free math help. The more resources you can give them, the fewer interruptions for you.
If you have toddlers and preschoolers, you will need to make sure that you schedule intensive work during their nap times. And they can also be entertained by older children who are now at home too.
You may also have to get used to working at night. If you have kids who are bathed and in bed by early evening, that can be your most productive work time.
In short, take advantage of all of the potential uninterrupted “work time” you may have.
Prioritize your tasks strategically
Before you go to bed at night, make a list of the work tasks you plan to complete the next day. Then, divide that list into two sub-lists.
One list should include those tasks that will not require heavy and intensive concentration. These you may be able to accomplish even through interruptions that are bound to occur.
The other list should include those tasks you know will require an uninterrupted focus.
Once you have these two lists, put them into your work schedule, based on times of day that are best for them.
Do take time for your kids
You take breaks at work, and you take time off for lunch. While your at-home breaks may not be as relaxing as they are at work (the staff lounge and adult conversation), remember that your kids do need time with you too.
And if you plan fun activities during your break times, you will find that they give you a great respite from your stressors of work. Plan some physical activities that can help restore your focus and motivation once you return to your tasks. Weather permitting, outside activity is best even if it’s just getting outside to your garden for some fresh air.
The other benefit? Once they have some quality time with you, your kids will probably be more willing to go back to some independent play/school tasks while you go back to yours.
Do use technology
There is a lot of criticism related to kids being glued to screens so much of their days – video games, movies, social media for older kids, etc.
But here’s the thing. In shorter doses, these can provide entertainment that will give you time for work too.
There is no reason why you cannot control screen time in your own home. You can decide how much and when and enforce the parameters you have established. Obviously, older children use their devices to communicate with friends, so their time may need to be longer. But if they are home because of school closings, then there must be time scheduled for school work too.
And here is the other thing: for young children, there is an amazing number of healthy and educational programs available in several places – YouTube, PBS, etc.
Keep a store of new toys
Something new for a toddler can be brought out during times when s/he is just not responding to current toys and activities. Bring out something new, preferably educational or physical. And if your young one has a large store of toys, put some away and rotate them. Toys that have not been seen for a while seem like new.
Above all, be prepared to grab time when you can
Are you an early riser? Get up one hour earlier than that, and use the quiet morning time to work before your little ones get up. Many at-home workers find this is a great time for focus.
Obviously, work through nap times. This goes without saying.
And, be prepared to work at night. This is certainly not ideal if you have a spouse, partner, or friends who want to socialize, but you don’t have to schedule work every night, without a break. Again, schedule your nighttime work so that you have a few nights to socialize. If you don’t, you will succumb to burnout, and that is the biggest productivity killer.
In the end…
Working from home with kids, especially if this is your new normal, is not without its challenges. If you are working from home not out of choice right now, or if you suddenly have kids at home with you, then you should take these seven tips seriously, and see how you can implement them into your workday. As well, you should understand that your employer is aware that these are strange circumstances. Keeping that employer updated on your home situation will certainly help too.
We hope you found these tips on working from home with kids during Coronavirus useful. Do share your experiences with us below.
We’ve teamed up with Logitech for this chance to win a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse combo – perfect for both working from home or helping to keep the kids busy, homeschooled and entertained while you work from home!
Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a contributor to Essayguard. She is also an experienced writer with a degree in social psychology from Durham University. Daniela is primarily focused on writing about self-improvement. She has authored a number of insightful and motivating articles like “Making The Right Choices Every Day” and “7 Steps To Open Yourself To New Opportunities & Possibilities”.
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