As more of us begin the transition to work from home in a bid to socially distance ourselves, and schools and nurseries take the decision to close, this is having a widespread impact on our professional lives.
If you find yourself in the position of working from home and having the children home too, you might be starting to feel stressed about getting work done, and keeping everyone happy. Don’t panic, because there are plenty of things you can do to make a success of balancing working from home alongside keeping your family life as seamless as possible.
The key to success is creating a routine that you and the kids can stick to on a daily basis. That means continuing to get up at the same time as if you’re heading out to work and school. Eat breakfast, get dressed and organise yourselves for the day ahead as you would normally, and prepare to start your working or school day at the same time as normal.
It’s also a good idea to implement a timetable and try to stick to it as much as possible. Ask your children if they have certain subjects they’d like to work on at different times of the day – for example, would they prefer to study maths and English in the morning, switching to more creative subjects such as art or music in the afternoon?
While your kids are engrossed in reading or solving maths problems, use this time to focus on your own work, and seize every opportunity you can to be productive while the kids are occupied with their studies. It’s also a good idea to schedule lunch breaks for the same time as school or work, and use the time to get outside, stretch your legs, use up some energy and prepare for the afternoon.
Try to stick to the school routine as much as possible, so your children understand they still have to work during this time, and it’s not an opportunity to stop studying. Routine is good for your mental health and will be a staple in getting through this testing time for as long as it lasts.
It’s important that you manage your expectations at this time, to avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety. If your children are off school, their teachers should be providing them with work and advice on how to work from home.
You also may need to manage your expectations about what you can achieve in your own working life whilst trying to juggle your kids’ workload too.
Understand that you simply can’t do everything, and make sure to prioritise your work tasks. Ask your children to take responsibility and prioritise theirs too, so you don’t have to micromanage them.
Other top tips include:
- Get dressed as you would for work and school. This might sound unnecessary, but it will help you and your kids get into the right mindset to work, rather than sitting in pyjamas or jogging bottoms. Ask your children to continue to wear their school uniforms, so they know that during the day, they’re expected to act as they would at school.
- Take breaks. Adhere to the breaks that children get at school, and take advantage of them yourself too. Use the time to let the kids play in the garden, catch up on iPad time or watch a quick episode of something they enjoy, to keep morale going and reward them for their hard work. This will also act as an incentive for them to work hard.
- It might sound hard, but try to appreciate this time you have with your children. It’s an opportunity to learn more about them and spend quality time together as a family.
This is an unprecedented time, but together we can get through it with a positive attitude, and trying to carry on as much as possible.