Key Tips to Work From Home and Manage Kids Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic
How I Have Survived Working From Home With A Toddler … And How You Can Too
Scanning news headlines on COVID-19 every day, and seeing more and more people starting to cocoon in their homes, is a very strange and surreal reality.
The fact that we don’t have a time span for how long this new reality will last can be disconcerting at times.
However, as someone who is regularly working from home with a toddler, who doesn’t nap, things can get challenging during this Coronavirus pandemic.
So, many of you might be wondering how to work from home with kids during these testing times?
1. Have a learning objective
I am an educator, and my first love has always been teaching. In our training, we are taught to have an objective for what we are teaching, which is what I try to implement in my home school now.
After completing these series of exercises/assignments, I think of the skill set I would like my students (and now my own kids) to develop. In essence, what is the point of what we are doing?
During homeschooling, keep in mind what you want the end goal to be, or even have just a single idea you want to focus on.
My daughter started learning how to knit recently, and really enjoys it. My other daughter wants to learn her multiplication tables.
These are our upcoming goals while we are quarantining ourselves this week. They don’t necessarily have to be educational, and can even be anything you have been meaning to teach your kids and never got around to doing.
Here is a perfect time!
2. Have fun
I want to make this experience as fun as possible for my kids. I certainly wouldn’t want them thinking that they being home 24-7 makes my life, and family management that much harder.
They’re young, and they are just excited about no school and no end of year testing. I am mindful to let them know how much fun we have as a family when we are together.
I want them to look back on this moment 20 years from now, thinking that it was strange, but we made the best of it and had some fun.
In that vein, I have also created a daily schedule that leaves room for activities like baking, making tents, drawing, etc., and the extra inbuilt flexibility allows me to work from home in the afternoons, and also meet everyday household needs.
3. Carve out work periods through the day
Carve out work time whenever you can throughout the day. It might be challenging to have a strict or regimented schedule in place.
As someone who has been working from home for a few years now, I find that waking up an hour and a half before the kids, gives me a good amount of uninterrupted time.
It goes on the same lines as finding time in the afternoon and then working late into the evening after the kids are gone to bed.
It’s really the only way I have been able to manage to work from home, given my toddler doesn’t nap.
4. Get dressed for work
I find that the days I am most productive are the days that I change out of sweats or pajamas. It sets the tone to work from home.
If I am in my favorite pair of baggy pajamas, I end up having a slower day where I end up accomplishing very little. I feel that the clothes change my attitude and set my tone for the day.
For me, the more put-together (but still comfortable, because I am working from home after all), I am, the more productive I am.
Maybe, it’s a psychological effect, but to make your ‘work from home’ regime more productive, ditch your favorite pajamas, and make an effort to wear something as if you were stepping out to run errands.
5. Try cooking your meals at home
I cook all our meals at home. I’m talking about breakfast, school lunches, and dinner.
I have fond memories of my mom cooking meals for us, and I try to carry on the same tradition. This doesn’t mean that I am in the kitchen every day making something from scratch.
I have about 10 recipes that I make most often and interchange them every week. I try to have all my groceries done on one day, and chop all the vegetables, and do smoothie preps that same day.
The next day (usually Sunday), I’ll cook 3-4 dishes at one time, and we use them throughout the week. This takes me easily to Wednesday – sometimes Thursday – with my fridge fully stocked with ready to eat meals.
I’ll make something easy on Instapot the other days. I find that this habit ends up generally being more cost-effective, and healthier.
Our kids get a free choice on what they would like to eat on Fridays, but everything is set for them on the other days.
Watch this video for some easy food recipes to cook at home:
6. Leave phone calls for when your kids are occupied
Working from home with kids is an adventure on a regular basis, but now with 3 kids at home full-time, it is more challenging than ever.
The other day I had an important phone call, but my toddler kept shouting in the background and asking who I was talking to. I ended up having to explain that I worked from home and my baby was with me.
These days, and in these times, people are more understanding. Younger kids can interrupt phone calls, and video conferencing.
You can either leave phone calls for when your kids are occupied. And sometimes, you just have to roll with it and introduce them to your peers and co-workers.
7. Be disciplined
When you’re working from home, it’s really easy to put off working on something and run over to empty the dishwasher or anything else that you’ve had pending for a while.
It’s hard to stay at your desk, without letting little interruptions get in your way. Carve out different times for different things.
Make a list of 2-3 essential tasks you would like to accomplish that day and try to get through that list.
8. Take out time for yourself
In between this busy schedule, take time out for yourself, whether that means quietly sitting and having your morning coffee, a hot shower at the end of the day, or a small break during the kids’ play break.
In the midst of catering to everyone’s needs, don’t forget your own.
For me, I enjoy 2 cups of coffee in the morning by myself.
My first cup is a necessity, and the second one is more leisurely, but I really savor this time, when the house is quiet and everyone is asleep. It allows me to collect my thoughts, check my calendar and set the tone for the day.
But above it all, when you are set to work from home, throw out the rules that don’t work in your dynamic, and breathe.
Remember that this moment will be a distant memory someday. How would you like to remember it by?
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