There's no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has turned all of our lives upside down. For some of us, that means working from home while wearing multiple hats. Such as, being a teacher, being a productive employee and so much more, all while still being a parent. I'm sure by now, we are all experts in this department, but just in case here are some tips on working from home with kids during COVID-19.
Stick To Your Normal Routine
If you would normally wake up to take a shower, get dressed, prep lunches, get your kids ready and sit down to eat breakfast as a family before driving off to school and work, then you should still do this. The only thing that's different is that you're not driving to school and work. Try setting your kids up with school work before you retreat to your dedicated work area so that you can focus on your work.
Separate Your Work Role and Parent Role
It's important for you to still try to separate your work and home life as much as possible. Setup a dedicated work area and spend your work day there and explain to your family that when you are there, you are working. You and your partner can takes shifts and alternate throughout the day. If you have smaller children, you and your partner can switch off while one takes the morning with the kids and the other takes the afternoon. This allows you to still dedicate a portion of your day to work with minimal interruptions.
Plan For Interruptions
At this point we've all experienced our fair share of unplanned interruptions. Like being on a conference call when the dogs bark, your kids bursting in the room crying or your partner walking in during a company Zoom meeting asking if there's more milk! While these episodes aren't colossal, they definitely add to the stress of working from home. Planning for these interruptions helps prevent some future pain and suffering. Hit the mute button during conference calls to avoid any unexpected yells of "Mommmeee!" in the background. Use a background while on Zoom or better yet, place a do not disturb sign on the door. Perhaps you can wear a yellow hair tie when you're on the phone to signify to the family that they are not allowed to make noise or interrupt, unless there's an emergency.
Keep Your kids Entertained
The most important thing you can do during the day, is to keep your children entertained so that you can have quiet time to be productive. If you have older school age children you can create daily course work challenges, kind of like a mental scavenger hunt where you can assign them tasks with rewards. For younger children, you can tell them if they sit and watch a movie quietly, you'll all go outside and play a game after.
Include Family Time In Your Daily Schedule
We can't stress this one enough, create a family schedule and include some fun family activities. Plan to cook dinner every night as a family, make it fun, divide and conquer! Designate one night for games, one night for movies and popcorn and one night for crafts. The activities are limitless, but just be sure to set some time aside for quality family time.