WORKING FROM HOME WITH CHILDREN: #COVID19 EDITION
March 25, 2020
If you're living anywhere in the United States, you've likely been thrust into living and working in close quarters with zero lead time. Children are distance learning, offices are shuttered, parents are working from home, grandparents are self-quarantined, and the only time anyone leaves the house is for a trip to the grocery store.
We know the social distancing measures and protocols surrounding #COVID19 are for our safety and that of others, enacted in the hopes that we can stop the spread of illness and return to normal life sooner rather than later. Nonetheless, the disruption to regular routines carries significant challenges. Here are three simple suggestions for maintaining your sanity while working from home.
1. Designate school hours. Use this time to focus on your children and their learning, but allow breaks when needed. Don't be too hard on your littles if they’re not finishing all their assigned work. Children crave structure, and they're missing their teachers, friends, and routines as much as you're missing your office and daily coffee run. Unless you homeschool, this is unfamiliar territory, and that’s okay! If reading time is a struggle, sit down and read a book together as a family. Today we started The Secret Garden. Your middle-schooler balks at practicing his instrument? Turn music time into a mini-concert and be a cheerleader while he works through the exercises. Time for PE? Take a walk together or play catch in the backyard. It all counts as learning, and it’s less of a slog when we do things together.
2. Multitask. This is critical, especially if you don’t have an office with a door at home. Empty the dishwasher during a conference call or spend an hour prepping ingredients for future meals while you quiz your children on their multiplication tables. There will be interruptions. Take advantage of the early morning and late-night hours when younger members of the household are asleep to catch up on emails and news or to do work that requires your full attention. Be fluid with your schedule and adapt how and when you get things done. You’ll be waving goodbye to the school bus again before you know it.
3. Make the most of the togetherness. When we’re running between meetings, school, sports, and activities, we're desperate for margin. Right now, we have all the time in the world. Since everyone in your house is in the same boat, get those oars moving in the same direction. Play games (love me some table hockey), head outside for a bike ride, cook a family favorite, worship together online, or bake a special treat. I whipped up a loaf of chocolate banana bread my kids loved; you can grab the recipe on my Instagram page.
As you adapt and adjust, you'll find what works best for your home team with a positive attitude and a bit of trial-and-error. Most of all, remember to give yourself and each other grace as we learn and grow together in this new season. Offering reassurance and extra doses of love and affection are far more important than achieving “quarantine perfection.”
What are your #WorkFromHome tips and tricks? I'd love to hear them; please drop a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.