When corona virus started nobody knows it is going to change the life of so many people. We all got affected one way or another. Especially people who have children and suddenly they all had to stay home and work.
Sometimes it can be very challenging to take care of the children and work in the same space. But, with the right tools and good advice, everything is possible. Many people who are single parents tend to work from home since they don’t have any other option left. Such people are a good example. With the right organization of time and space, everything is possible.
Sometimes it will be very hard, but you have to keep on going until you adjust to a new way of living. Maybe it will last for a few weeks, or our lives are different for a longer period. We don’t know that now, so it is important to adjust as much as we can.
What is my Role ?
First of all, it is very important to separate the role of a mother or father and the role of a business person.
If they will see you as their parents all the time they will not take your work seriously. Separate the place you are working from the place you are working in.
Make an “imaginary office”. Put a work desk in the corner of the room.
Put your laptop on the desk and a working chair behind it. “Separate” the room with the tape on the floor. Make an imaginary cubicle.
Explain to them when you are in your cubicle, they can’t talk to you or go near you because you are working.
They need to know that there is always time for everything. Separate the role you have on work from the role you have as a parent.
You can also play a pretending game that you went on work. As you will sit behind your desk they will pretend you are at work.
Children are simple, you just have to put some creativity in the explanation. They will most like to accept your role in it is like you are playing a game than a real thing. In any case, every child is different and you need a different approach.
Some might refuse to leave you alone, and some might accept it as a game. That is why you have to give it a go and see it for yourself.
How to explain to your boss that your toddler broke his favorite toy, in the middle of the call you were having? You don’t. Such scenarios you need to plan.
Explain to the child that he can’t interrupt if you are wearing a scarf (or something else). Tell them that you are on an important call with your boss. If you lose the job you won’t be able to buy him new toys, or even ice cream.
To explain the importance of work, tell them to clean the dust of some small piece of furniture. If he does that 3 times he will get a dollar bill. That is his paycheck. It will be self-explanatory to the child why people need to work. Next time when you will wear a scarf, remind him of a dollar bill. So he will understand the importance of money in every-day life.
If the child is old enough to keep himself busy for short periods, tell him you are going to cut off allowance. Because of his misbehavior, you are not efficient enough. Thus you are not getting a full paycheck. Children understand everything with the right approach.
Make a Schedule
When you are working and raising children under the same roof it is hard. Even though you are home, you are still working and your children have to take that seriously.
Before you start, talk with them and explain to them how your life will function. Explain to them that you are now sharing the same space and make work blocks with time frames. At what time are you working, what is the time for meals, when is your free time.
Also, when are you doing your chores like laundry and cleaning and who is doing what on each day.
The organization is the key in such situations. If one person is not organized per schedule everything will fall apart. It is going to take some time to adjust to the new situation.
In a matter of a few days, you will understand who is doing what and when. Everybody will know their place. Involve kids in making a schedule with you.
Depending on their age, give them some choirs as well. That will help you get your workspace and living area organized. Decide when it is a critical time every day for you to do a task that requires high concentration.
Soon will be that new practice normal. You will adjust, give yourself some time. It is a huge change for everybody.
How to make Shifts?
If you and your husband or partner are both homes, decide who is going to work at what time. It can be 2 hours shift, 4 hours shift, or as per your liking. You mustn’t leave children alone.
Make a calendar with shifts, which days are you working longer or shorter. Use that time when is your shift to make calls or contact clients via video chat. It can be very difficult if you are all in a small space, so, ask your partner to take the children for a walk in the fresh air. Use your time.
Also, your partner will need the same amount of time to do his work, so you have to take part in sharing every task. If it is possible to involve grandparents or other relatives through the video call. Ask them to entertain the children for a while as you will do your work. They will be glad to help as they will get more bonded to their grandparents or cousins.
Try to contact the parents of your children’s friends and arrange a virtual playdate. Children will be happy to see their friends. And in times of social distancing, it is important to keep friendships alive.
Use Beautiful Days
Try to stay healthy and clear-headed. Since you will be spending most of your days indoors, go out when the day is beautiful. With your family or if you are under a lot of stress, ask your partner to take care of your children for a short while.
Use the beautiful sunny days for filling up your batteries. Either it is riding a bike, walking, or jogging, it is important to go out on fresh air. It will clear up your mind and your body will be in good shape also.
Working from home and spending all the time in social distancing can be very stressful. Take your kids outside as well. Play games outside, even if it is the back yard.
Soccer, basketball, dodge ball, games with hoops, everything that crosses your mind. Allow yourself to be a child once more. It will relax you and prepare you for the stressful work.
In such situations, it is most important to keep it cold headed. If you let the stress eat you alive you will end up falling in a rabbit hole you won’t get out.
Even in this time of social distancing, try to keep yourself busy with the things you enjoy.
If that is a book club or movie club, try to get everyone to the video meeting. That way you will have some fun, and you can sign in to new online clubs as well.
In this whole mess, you can’t forget about yourself. You matter as much as your children. If you are unable to work, your children will also suffer.
There will be days when you will feel like it is game over and you can’t deal with anything anymore.
But at that time its important to get support from people around you. You are not alone. Many people are dealing with the same problems daily. They are all making it. So will you.
Children out of Control
We all have been there, children are sometimes having bad days and they are extremely cranky. In such days you will have a difficult time working.
You have to understand that they are also confused with the lock-down. If they are old enough try to explain to them what is going on in the world.
But be very careful not to scare them. They are fragile and they might get into a panic mode if they get too scared.
If they are in preschool age, they will probably be under more stress than usual. They will start school in a different environment than any of the children before.
Talk to them as much as you can in your free time. That will also make them a little calmer, so they will allow you to work in peace. Try to order them some new boarding games.
That will develop their brain and social skills as well. But, the truth is, there are going to be days when they will be completely out of control and nothing will work. In those days you will have to stay working late into the night. Or wake up early so you will finish your work.
It is not going to be easy, but if it is making you any calmer, millions have succeeded working from home. It is a unique situation with lock-down, but, hope remains that will be over soon.
Keep Children Busy
You can always give your children tasks to do. Draw or write something, or they can do some math. Don’t ignore them when they are showing you their work of art. Encourage them to do more. That way you are giving yourself time to work, and them time to practice.
Children can be very creative, but also sometimes they don’t know what to do. In such times, remember games you used to play when you were a child. Tell them some stories about your childhood and dare them to try some of your games.
Tell them to organize their toys, but let them clean it as they want. They will most likely find some toys they did not see for a long time and they will start to play. Again you will have some time off. If they are old enough they can play Twister or similar games. That will keep them active and that is important for their sleep.
Tell your partner to take your dog for a walk with the children. Their day must be active. That way you will have fewer problems putting them to sleep. After all usual day when they are in kindergarten or school is usually very active. Keep it that way.
Make it Virtual
We all have friends we miss at the time of the lock-down. We all miss our conversations and times when we are relaxing with our friends and their children. So, why don’t you make it virtual? Arrange a virtual cam meeting. Put everyone in the frame, so nobody feels left behind.
If you can, play some boarding games together. Chutes and ladders are something we all have at home. Roll dice and make it fun for everyone. Remember good old times, share a story or two with your kids. Stay positive, that will all help you out in stressful days at work. And believe me, there are going to be many. That is why you have to take advantage of the days that are not stressed.
Do some light work in the evenings. It will take the burden of the tight schedule away. And you will feel better in the morning knowing that you are capable of everything. And don’t forget to talk with your children.
They are also under a lot of stress. Be a support to each other and you will get through this