Working from home with kids – is this even possible? Kids don’t really make the best co-workers, so here are some hints and tips to be a good parent and worker at the same time.
There are plenty of memes doing the rounds at the moment about working from home with kids; many of them allude to a suspended kid and a teacher who was fired for drinking on the job. Whilst we are not quite at the home-schooling point in Victoria just yet, working from home with the kids in tow is a massive challenge.
Here are some pointers on how to keep sane in these insane times:
- Lower your expectations – Working from home whilst taking care of kids is essentially like doing two jobs at once. Don’t get too worried about increased screen time or a messy house. These things can be addressed later down the track. (When we say lower your expectations, we mean real low – this is going to be hard!)
- Be flexible – Make sure you speak to your manager or boss about more flexible work hours. You may need to get up earlier to get some work done or have longer break time. Its impossible to be sitting at your computer constantly, especially when Johnny has just hit Fred over the head with a stick.
- Be kind to yourself – Remember this is unprecedented times so don’t worry if everything falls apart more quickly than usual.
- Create boundaries – try to create your own workspace and let the kids know they cannot use your space. (i.e. don’t put any of your teddies, toys, bits of lego, crumpled paper, half eaten biscuits or textas with no lids on my desk!)
- Don’t compare yourself to others – Remember that everyone’s kids are different eg different ages, different needs and attention spans, different interests – do what is best for you and your kids. (Don’t compare your kids to perfect Amelia from down the street who reads The Secret Garden from start to finish on a freshly made bed.)
- Communicate with your partner – If you are ‘lucky’ enough to be at home with your partner as well, make sure you are communicating how to separate tasks and chores. Sharing the load is a huge help and can make a big difference mentally.
Once you have come to terms with this almost impossible task of working from home, lets see if we can make it a little bit easier with a few strategies.
- A schedule might make things easier. It could be a timetable with specific activities at certain times or perhaps a list of activities that they can chose from. Whatever way you choose, a schedule or list will give kids a bit of direction when they get bored. (Which will happen in the first 5 minutes no doubt.)
- Establish some rules to make things a little easier. A great strategy for this is the traffic light system. Create some kind of coloured traffic light that can be stuck on the door or by your desk. Red light means – do not interrupt under any circumstances unless the house is on fire or your head has fallen off. Orange – Yes, I can talk to you is its important but I’m really trying to concentrate. Green – I’m all ears, how can I help you?
- Let them play! Don’t interrupt your kids’ play, leave them be for as long as possible. Play has so many important factors for children – it helps with brain development, improves their wellbeing, improves attention span and cognitive development, and very importantly, helps kids become aware of their emotions and helps them make sense of their life. Basically, it is a kids job to play.
- Find some good resources. Maggie Dent, is an absolute gem and is known as the queen of common-sense parenting. Maggie has some really great ideas and resources for our current covid-19 lifestyle. Her Facebook page has great parenting ideas on how to build resilience in kids, how to involve kids in play and how to get kids doing chores around the house. You can also check out her podcast Parental As Anything. Check out the links to Maggies
Hopefully, you have found a few tips here to be helpful. But if all else fails stick on an episode of Bluey! Good luck!
Find Maggie on Facebook here:
And find her tips for Staying at Home here: