If you’re a working parent, then chances are your work-life balance was already a challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way nearly every family in America is working, learning and spending their time. Since the health of your children come first, it makes sense to self-quarantine until the threat of virus passes.
Working from home is a great option for anyone who can do it. Now is the time for employers to step up and create solutions for employees who have kids. If you’ve ever dreamed of being a virtual worker, then here’s your chance. While working from home and ensuring your kids get an education simultaneously may be a huge challenge, we all need to pull together in these tough times.
There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding when life will get back to normal, and your kids may feel nervous about the future. Scheduling a group meeting every day to talk about their emotions, goals and daily assignments will help. This is also the time to talk about ground rules relating to the needs of each individual whether it’s related to the need for quiet while you’re on the phone with a client or respecting your older child’s privacy. Setting ground rules is important to get you off to a great start.
Create A Work Space
If you’re lucky enough to already have a home office, then that’s one problem solved. Otherwise, find an area in your house that’s quiet but accessible. If you have young children, then you’ll need to supervise them while you work. Designate your home office as a “kid-free” zone to ensure your work doesn’t get misplaced or becomes your toddler’s next art project. If your take home work involves private information, then your employer should provide you with a locking file cabinet if you don’t already have one.
It’s Time To Rearrange The Furniture
These are strange times we live in, and that calls for out of the box thinking. If your kids don’t’ have rooms big enough to allow for some creative play or really big crafting projects, then go ahead and push the couch out of the way. Bring in some smaller tables and set up an area for school work and for fun. Now is the time to say “yes” to a semi-permanent fort in the living room or the world’s largest Lego city. If you have a patio or backyard and the weather permits it, then use these areas to extend your living space too.
Fine Tune Your Schedule To See What Works Best
Amidst all of the temporary changes involved with the pandemic, the fact is that you are still responsible for getting your work done. Make sure your supervisor understands what your responsibilities are as a parent, so you can continue to be a valued and effective employee. Whether you’re the sole adult who will be at home with your kids during the self-quarantine period, or you’re sharing the responsibility with another adult, it’s important to discover the hours that allow you to get your job done. Much of your scheduling will be dependent on your job responsibilities, but you may find you’re able to work best either in the early morning hours or after the kids are asleep. It’s important to make yourself available to your kids to assist them and make sure they’re on track with their studies.
Get Up And Get Moving
Although the virus has closed the gyms and kept us from congregating in the playground, getting exercise is important for our minds and bodies. Use your living room, backyard or garage for a workout room for the whole family. Whether you decide to have a dance party every day or follow a routine on YouTube, find something that each of you enjoys. Many kids are used to playing sports or burning off energy by running around outside, but you can help them channel this energy by directing them in physical activities.
Don’t Forget To Have Fun
The coronavirus has thrown us all for a loop, and you may feel that nothing will ever be normal again. During these hard times, it’s vital to stay positive while working at home with your loved ones and find ways to keep your spirits up. For instance, if you normally have a bowling night every Thursday, then set up a DIY bowling game in the hall complete with pizza and refreshments. Have ice cream for dinner or spaghetti for breakfast just to mix things up and keep the boredom at bay. You can create good memories for your kids by injecting a little whimsy into your day.