Many of us are now working from home due to the Covid-19 crisis, and with schools closed, the whole family is under one roof!
Suddenly, your house seems a lot smaller than you once thought. You find yourselves crammed together in the kitchen, elbow to elbow. The kids are growing restless, and you have an important conference call to attend…
Every situation is unique.
Do you have a well-equipped home office, or are you making do at the kitchen table? How old are your children?
Here’s a Plan:
You could simply wing it, but don’t be surprised if a pillow fight erupts in the background of your webcam!
Children are remarkably adaptable. They’re used to being in a class with 30 other kids, after all. Take a cue from school and establish “quiet working time,” a period when all family members work quietly on their projects. Explain why it’s crucial for you to work without interruption (after all, there’s no money for nice food if you can only afford spinach!) and involve them in helping you stay productive.
Thankfully, online lessons are becoming more common for kids, and they need their own quiet working time too. Many schools offer a daily schedule that alternates between thinking and doing tasks. You can create your own routine around this.
While you’re planning, divide household tasks among yourself, your partner, and your children, and turn your family into a well-oiled machine. You’re all in this together!
After work is done, you can spend quality time baking an apple pie together or playing games.
Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures:
Of course, kids shouldn’t spend too long playing video games or watching television. It’s detrimental to outdoor playtime and their health. However, during these exceptional circumstances, you can be a bit more lenient. Explain to your children that this is a unique situation and that things will return to normal in a few weeks.
You probably spend a lot of time in online meetings, and your kids might not understand why they need to be quiet. To help them grasp the importance, allow your children to make video calls with their friends or grandparents. This way, they can relate to your work and understand why a quiet background is helpful. You can even turn vacuuming the room into an extra learning opportunity!
Divide and Conquer:
Working simultaneously from home sounds good in theory, but in practice, there’s limited space in the house, and you likely have only one good headset. Imagine the stress of being on a conference call while a child demands your attention in the background. Consider splitting working hours with your partner. This allows you to work without interruption and be more efficient. Plus, there’s always a parent available to assist or play with the kids!
Create Personal Space:
While working at the kitchen table may suffice for a while, remember that it takes over the entire house when you’re always there. If this situation persists, it’s wise to carve out a dedicated workspace. If you don’t have a spare room, consider using the bedroom.
Alternatively, you can work during unusual hours, such as when the children are asleep. However, be cautious; this approach may lead to burnout if not managed properly.
Get Some Fresh Air:
Ideally, take your children to a quiet, less crowded playground, keeping a safe distance, of course. It’s essential to let them burn off some excess energy.
Accept the Situation:
Things aren’t going as smoothly as you’re used to, but remember that your colleagues, partner, and children are all facing the same challenges. It is what it is. It’s new, uncomfortable, but it’s okay. Share your difficulties with your colleagues and employer, and work together to set achievable goals.
Find the Silver Lining:
We’re living in a unique time. It might even be revolutionary! Your children will remember this experience for the rest of their lives. I still fondly recall the oil crisis in the 1970s when I was five years old. Back then, it was forbidden to drive on Sundays, and we could play in the streets everywhere! The current Covid-19 crisis will likely have a more significant impact. Perhaps “enjoy” isn’t the right word, but it can certainly be a valuable experience.
Use this time to grow as individuals and as a family, and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come!