In our current situation, almost everyone is a work from home parent like me. We are all navigating new territory. We are all in the situation of having our children home with us as we attempt to keep them busy, happy, engaged all while we strive to get our work done for our job or our business.
As I write this blog, this is the end of Day 2 for our first real week of this experience. Last week was March Break for us, so I allowed both the kids and I to be unregimented/unscheduled, but already I am noticing the lack of schedule impacting our youngest who is 5 years old. I also noticed that as always, we truly can only be present in one place/moment at a time.
My goal for this blog is to share a few things that are working for me in hopes of providing you with a few suggestions to help your day with children and working from home feel easier.
Decide on a few activities you want the children to complete each day. Some children may thrive on having the freedom to choose which order they do these activities in. Others may want to have a schedule of what order to complete the activities in. I have noticed that my older children like being able to choose. Our child who is in kindergarten, wants to do activities like she experiences in the classroom (ex the meeting circle and morning message). I have come to realize very quickly that I have to create a rough schedule for her. Depending on the age of your children, this could be useful to consider.
For my children in grade 4 and 5, I have them using the online resources that have been using this year in their classrooms (ex. Knowledgehook, Lexia, Prodigy, Google Classroom). For my youngest who is in kindergarten, I have been using Scholastic.com and ABCYa. Today we watched a wildlife program on Disney+ together and I had each of them write out three facts they found interesting about the animals. There have been so many resources in recent days posted online. I encourage you to pick one or two and check them out.
Use screen time to your advantage as a working parent. As I have always worked from home in my online health coaching business, my kids are used to me having meetings. Just like you though, I have not had kids home with me all day everyday while trying to get work done. I have clearly outlined for my children that when I have a meeting, then they are permitted to be on their devices, choosing the activity/game/youtube time. However, if I am not in a meeting, they must complete the activities outlined for them. At the beginning of the day, I let them know when my meetings are, so they know in advance that they will have free time.
Be present as much as possible in between your meetings, or take clear breaks from your work to be with the kids. Plug your phone in, away from the kids and engage with them. This is your opportunity to have fun and move your body for a moment, such as using GoNoodle to dance around your living room, using Cosmic Yoga to decrease stress in both yourself and the children or to go outside for a walk. I truly believe there are blessings to be found in this time. When other life changing moments occurred in history, did families get the opportunity to spend more time together? No! We may be in a state of global crisis, but at least we are with our loved ones, with incredible technology that keeps us connected to everyone we know, near and far.
Do yourself and your energy a favour, only check into the news once per day. Stay informed and then disconnect. You will be far more productive for the work you need to get done even with kids around, if you don’t allow yourself to get sucked into the constant news (most of which isn’t new). Additionally, anything you can do to raise your own vibe will impact your kids and help them to raise their vibe as well. Some examples include: getting outside and throwing the baseball together, jump on the trampoline, turn on YouTube and do a workout with your kids, blast the music while cleaning the house or cooking dinner. As Tony Robbins has taught us, changing your state, changes your energy. In this time of chaos and uncertainty, we have to find ways to bring positivity back in our own lives. Doing this will be beneficial for yourself, your children and the work you need to get done during this time.
We all have different challenges to face in this time of being a work from home parent with kids at home. Our struggles are all real and unique. If there is any message, we each need to embrace in this time it is “I am enough’ and “I will do the best that I can”. I send this message to you with my whole heart. Stress breeds more stress. Fear breeds more fear. Take this time to connect with yourself and take a deep breath. You may need to reach out to ask for help. You may need to make changes during this time. But no matter what, you are enough.
If you are struggling with your health, mindset or are looking for guidance as a work from home parent, please reach out! You are not alone.