Whether you’re at home with a baby, toddler, pre-schooler or a school-aged child (or a combination of these!), working from with children is hard work. The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has seen us all adapt to new way of living and working, as well as caring for our children.
If you’re finding yourself struggling with the juggle of working from home with children by your side, we have a few tips to hopefully help you have more success with it.
1. Be patient and kind
Firstly, be patient with yourself and with children during this unusual time. We’re all adjusting and it’s going to take some trial and error to find what works for each individual family. Test out what works for you, while also staying in tune with your children’s needs. Maybe getting up earlier than your children and starting the day getting some work done before the house awakens is a useful approach for you? Other parents prefer to work in short bursts or ‘sprints’ throughout the day, while working in the evening is an option as well.
2. Create a timetable
Children thrive on routine and a daily schedule with plans for each block of time can help to create a balanced day with plenty of time for everyone’s needs. You can identify opportunities and allocate optimal times to schedule work tasks like phone calls, checking and responding to emails or tackling jobs. Involve the family in creating the timetable – you can even decorate it and stick it on the wall where everyone can see it. Use visuals so children who can’t read can keep up with what’s happening next too.
3. The magic table
A new activity can often engage children for longer than something they are used to. Set up a table in your home with a stimulating new toy or activity each day and keep them rotating. Place a blanket over it and when the allotted time arrives, unveil the day’s magic table activity to hopefully buy yourself some extra time to get work done. Keep an eye on what engages children most and you’ll know what to use based on what you need to get done for work.
4. Get children involved
Children love to role play and their carers are often their greatest role models! Try setting them up with their own work station like yours, plus a notepad or similar and enjoy working side by side.
5. Set aside time for fun
It’s all about balance! If children feel you are giving them attention and set aside time to have fun with them, they are more likely to work with you when you need to get something else done.
6. Quality screen time
Screen time can be useful, but make sure you choose quality offerings that provide children with an engaging educational experience. You can also access a bunch of videos and ideas via our free ‘Music Kinder at Home’ group. These videos can be included in a quality screen time offering each day, including our daily yoga, story time and singing with Bonkers the Monkey. Parents, carers and educators can also connect with others here, including many who are no doubt sharing the same experiences.
Also, if you are finding you need a bit more ‘you’ time as a parent at home, make sure you download the daily schedule at ‘Music Kinder at Home’. Resources are added everyday to give your children engaging and stimulating learning experiences delivered by experienced and professional early childhood educators.
Remember, this new way of living is not forever and some days will be better than others. You’re doing a great job and so are children as we all work together to respond to the coronavirus as a community.