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4/29/2020 | Team United
Two months ago, we had a routine. Today, the coronavirus has us scrambling to find a new one.
As parents, we are facing the unprecedented challenge of being teachers, germ police, and housekeepers on top of fathers, mothers, and employees. Making it all work is challenging, but with these tips, you can strike a balance between productivity and parenting.
The top priority should be a schedule that works around your needs. While you should think about other family member’s needs, start by finding when you are the most productive and go from there. (Don’t forget to take meetings, deadlines, and other obligations into consideration, too.)
If one parent is a morning person and the other is a night owl, it helps to stagger work schedules. That way, the morning parent can get work done first thing while the other handles parental responsibilities. Around noon, they may swap duties.
The odds are you won’t get the typical amount of work done during regular business hours. There will be an adjustment period for you and your children, as everyone adapts to the new routine. If possible, plan your tasks and objectives in advance. That way, you can set yourself up for success when it comes to sticking to your new schedule.
A “going to the office” mentality helps you get more done through a routine. That said, there will be a mental and emotional overlap with your parenting. Ideally, you minimize interruptions and maximize your heads-down work time. A couple of tips to ensure you are at your most productive include:
For many of us, we are working at home for the first time. Did you know physical separation is critical to be productive at home? The “out of sight, out of mind” approach creates a distinction between work and family time for parents and children. When a parent is in their office, it signals to children not to disturb the working parent.
The same applies to the visual cues of a designated workspace. For example, a chair, room, or table may become a work zone. When a parent is sitting there, they are working. The association provides context to establish clear boundaries between work and family.
Making this balance is easier if you talk to your children. Set clear and consistent ground rules with your children. Thoroughly describe your situation and why these rules are important. This pandemic is not an individual issue; it’s a family and community one. Explaining your needs and your plan of action is a necessary step to be your most productive.
Homeschooling has become the new norm. As a result, many parents are now grappling with the fact that ninth-grade biology was harder than they remember.
Your child’s learning style should dictate your approach to homeschooling. Independent learners should have little trouble adjusting to remote learning. Weaker students will require more supportive learning environments. For instance, if your kid learns best in a group setting, try organizing a Zoom or Skype study session with classmates.
There are plenty of outstanding free online resources for homeschooling. Talk with your kids to learn their greatest needs or passions. Let them have some input over the curriculum, and work from there. If you are looking for online learning courses for kids, a couple of useful resources include:
Remember, kids do not learn for seven straight hours at school. They have lunch, study hall, and gym. Working in regular breaks is essential for everyone’s mental well-being. If you can achieve two to hour solid schooling hours per day, that is just fine.
Additionally, give your children some autonomy over their breaks or unstructured time. When it comes to meals, you may prepare several snack or lunch choices, so that they can independently select their favorite. You can also make a list of activities to do when bored, such as dance parties, playing cards, puzzling, and reading, to ensure they stay entertained while you work.
Regular breaks are essential to any routine. They provide mental balance that prevents burnout. While the when, where, and how of these breaks will vary by family, even 15 minutes away from work or school can people unplug and refresh.
Play is a way for children to learn. Open-ended toys, such as Legos, puzzles, Play-Doh, and science kits, challenge kids to explore, imagine, and create. That way, you can keep your kids occupied, and they just happen to learn some STEM skills.
While there is nothing wrong with screen time, it is easy to overindulge. If you decide screens are alright in your home, make sure to build it into a specific part of the day, like breakfast or after a nap. There are plenty of productive online resources, too, including NEO Kids exercise classes and virtual museum tours.
Balancing work and family life is hard, but doable. Each family will have its own temporary strategies to get through the coronavirus outbreak. Planning, structure, and communication will go a long way toward navigating this daily reality. These solutions will require some trial and error, but with some flexibility, planning, and communication, you can make your work-life balance a reality.