19 May The Balancing Act: How to Manage Working and Caring for Kids at Home
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many families into a work-from-home model almost overnight and it’s been that way for over two months. This unexpected event for which we were unprepared has created stress in many homes. Parents are seeking a solution to being with their children 24 hours a day while trying to maintain a productive work schedule. There is no perfect solution, but there are simple ways to minimize frustrations and maximize productivity. If you are struggling with productivity, these tips might help!
Set a Schedule
Having a clear and structured schedule is very important during this time! Children need a sense of normalcy and so do you. Children have missed structured time in the classroom and are entering summer break. A simple time chart can give everyone an idea of what worktime is and what relaxed time can be. The good news: a structured schedule does not have to be rigid! We’re allowed to be flexible during this time so if you can put work aside and go for a walk, please take that break. We also recommend involving your children in creating their schedules, so they have buy-in too. Ask them what three things they want to see on the calendar for the day – then they can find pleasure in checking off their own activities throughout the day!
Although we are still social distancing, the power of technology has allowed us to stay connected. While parents are working, additional family members or friends can become virtual babysitters. They can read stories to the children for 20 minutes, have a short dance party, or even play a few games! (There are many apps filled with resources.) Children and teens can stay connected to their friends through chatting via video chat and by having virtual playdates so they are still having interactions with friends. Depending on the age of your child, you can also set out some fun toys or even arrange afternoon movie times for the kids while you work.
Practice Self Care
During this time, it is easy to experience burnout. Working from home can be hard. The stress of uncertainty and feelings of confusion are common themes in our world right now. It is important to take extra care of yourself and invest in your overall health. With children, it can get a bit complicated, but it is certainly can be done. If you live with a partner, negotiate alone time and use that time to take a bath, go for a walk alone or even read in a peaceful place. For those who are managing children by themselves, keep a structured bedtime and use quiet time as your time alone. You can even wake up an hour early to jumpstart the day with meditation, your favorite workouts or just to savor your morning coffee!
This time will pass and we will experience challenges. We will make mistakes and learn from them. Continuing to demonstrate flexibility and being aware of our challenges and how uncertainty impacts us are keys to maintaining structure at home. Staying connected with other parents and families can also be helpful to help us remember that we’re not alone. We can do our best and if we need some additional help, we can reach out. To make an appointment to talk with one of our licensed therapists, email Counseling.Center@CHRIS180.org.