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7 Tips to Work From Home With Kids in the Time of Pandemic

Adults also need downtime

Make sure each adult in the house has downtime to themselves.
Discuss when each will take their downtime in advance to avoid arguments. You might make space to read a book, work on a craft project or exercise.
Solo parents might need to wait until the weekend and use early morning or late evening for downtime.

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7 Tips to Work From Home With Kids in the Time of Pandemic

7 Tips to Work From Home With Kids in the Time of Pandemic

https://www.themuse.com/advice/work-from-home-kids-coronavirus

themuse.com

9

Key Ideas

Remote work and children

Many working parents are facing working from home with kids and without access to babysitters, playdates, and even Grandma-dates that you might generally rely on.

It won't be smooth sailing or perfect, but there are a few strategies you can use to make the situation more manageable.

Get Creative With Your Schedule

If you have another adult home with you, consider a split schedule: At the beginning of each day, decide who will be the 'on point' parent. That person will work at the dining room table, feed the kids and suggest activities, while the other parent works in a different room.

One parent can also work before the children are awake, then you can stagger work times during the day, and the other parent can work when the children are in bed.

Be Up Front With Your Boss

Before you make adjustments to your work schedule in order to watch your children, talk to your boss or HR.

Let them know that your transition to home also means being responsible for your children. Create a schedule that you can share with your boss and assure them of your commitment to maintaining the level of excellence they expect.

If you clearly communicate your needs, you will decrease the level of stress and also open the door for coworkers to follow suit.

Stick to a Routine

Maintaining a daily routine will help everyone manage some of the anxiety caused by this big change.

  • Write out a schedule and stick it to the wall so the kids can refer to it throughout the day. If your school is closed for a month or more, also build in 'school' time.
  • Even toddlers will benefit from a routine, though you'll need to guide their activities more.
  • Resist the temptation to have a screen time free-for-all.

Minimize Interruptions

  • If you share childcare duty with someone, refrain from interrupting them during their heads-down work time. The parent on duty should keep the children away from the working parent.
  • If you can't move into a different room, designate a specific area as your work zone. It might be a chair in your living room. Build the association that when an adult is sitting there, they're working. Consider wearing noise-canceling headphones to block out noise.
  • Adults living in small spaces can hang a stop sign on their laptops or the wall during video or phone calls, so the children know to keep quiet. Let the children help you make the sign.
  • Signal when it is OK to talk to you. Take the stop sign down after your meeting is over. Remove your headphones. Open your office door. If children understand when they can interrupt, they're more likely to wait until that time.

Let Kids Make Some Choices

Give children the ability to choose some of their own activities and self-serve meals. It helps you to have more unbroken time.

Stick up activity suggestions if they get bored, such as coloring, dance party, crafts or clean. With toddlers, consider setting up activity stations for them to choose from.

Communicate With Your Coworkers

Even with the best plans, your children will interrupt your work. They'll scream just as you have a call. They'll bomb your video meetings. Or you may need to get outside with them to burn off energy. Your coworkers will be more understanding if you warn them ahead of time.

  • If you have a split schedule, inform the people you work with the most.
  • Thank them in advance for their patience.
  • Put your revised business hours in your email signature, on your voicemail, and in the company messaging system.
  • Mute your mic during a conference call until you're ready to talk.

Plan Breaks With the Kids

Working a few hours in the early morning allows you to take breaks during the day.
During your"off" time, play with the kids, preside over schoolwork, or play outside. Keep a running list of activities. If you give the kids your full attention during breaks, they will look forward to them and might give you more space when you're working.

Adults also need downtime

Make sure each adult in the house has downtime to themselves.
Discuss when each will take their downtime in advance to avoid arguments. You might make space to read a book, work on a craft project or exercise.
Solo parents might need to wait until the weekend and use early morning or late evening for downtime.

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Separate Roles

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  3. Try to recreate virtual versions of what employees miss the most in office, like a coffee break, for instance.

Being Social While Remotely Working

Being social at office lubricates official conversations and the work itself. The more we spend time with colleagues having non-essential chatter, the easier our work becomes with them.

It helps to be creative and infuse fun into a virtual interaction. Any official conversation, like a manager meeting his subordinates in a one-on-one meeting, can start by asking about the person’s life (something unrelated to work), so that a connection is built.

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