The sweeping pandemic of COVID-19 has changed the way every one of us handles our day-to-day life. Schools are closed for at least another month. We cannot go outside our homes except for basic necessities. And we have to maintain social distancing. Yet, most of our businesses continue to operate given the power of instant file transfers and virtual meetings.
As we navigate this strange time in history, I want to offer a few strategies that may help us all stay calm and productive:
Tips for Working from Home with Kids
First, we must accept the current situation for what it is. The coronavirus outbreak has everyone is stuck in their homes. All children are home from school. We must define a new sense of normal. There is no sense in mentally fighting the current situation because there is nothing we can do about it. We must follow the quarantine guidelines to prevent further spread of the virus. So, let’s make the best of it.
Work Time = All the Time
To ease the mental load of all our demands, working parents need to release the notion of a 9 am to 6 pm workday. There is no delineation between your work-life and your home-life during the quarantine.
Your “workday” is from when you wake up to when you go to bed. At my house, that is around 7 am to 9 pm. There will be ongoing interruptions throughout the day, and you will need to multitask. During this 14-hour block, everyone can accomplish everything on their to-do lists as long as we work together.
Workout Clothes > Daytime Clothes or PJs
Instead of getting dressed in regular daytime clothes, I suggest wearing workout clothes and sneakers so that you can get out and take a walk or light jog three or four times throughout the day.
Since our local YMCA and gyms are closed, outdoor exercise is a wonderful way to get some sunshine and let the kids release their energy. Knowing that your workday extends to 9 pm gives you permission to take several longer breaks throughout the day.
Technology Is Your Friend
Accept that technology is your substitute for childcare and use it strategically. If you have an important meeting or conference call that requires silence in the background, leverage technology to keep your children busy.
No one wants their kids on devices all day, but between online learning and videos (or video games) to keep them busy, the kids are going to have a little more screen time than normal. And that’s okay. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, so give yourself some grace.
Don’t Forget the Importance of Work-Life Balance
If possible, coordinate with your partner or spouse to give each other daily alone time. With the increased demands, we must guard our mental health and continue to take care of ourselves.
I enjoy a nightly walk, alone. Normally, I would listen to a podcast or music while I walk, but I have found that silence is quite therapeutic. If you’re a single parent, early mornings and late nights will be your quiet time.
Make Phone Calls and Video Calls
Lastly, we must continue to maintain our sense of community even though we’re separated. Call a friend. FaceTime grandma. Allow your children to chat with their school friends. It’s so important that we honor our humanness during this time and check on one another.
Whether this is just a couple of weeks or longer, we are in this together for as long as it takes.
Are you working from home with kids during COVID-19? Do you have any tips to share with us that are working in your home? Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.
Sarah Boyd is a PhD scientist turned tech entrepreneur. She has scaled multiple companies and boasts a diverse network of collaborators across entertainment, academia, government, non-profits, and the life science and tech industries. Sarah currently serves as the CEO of META Studios, a proudction how that specializes in cross-media development.