The spread of COVID-19 and the ensuing stat-at-home orders have forced working parents into telecommuting situations. They may be used to working from home for a few days when their kids are off school on holiday break or are home sick, but to telecommute with the kids’ home for weeks seems daunting. You’re not alone if you’re struggling to juggle conference calls and work deadlines with your children’s needs. Take a deep breath, and try some of these tips to get through the day.
Explain social Distancing to your Children
If your children are old enough, discuss social distancing with them. Explain why they can’t see their friends or go on playdates. Try to tell them that they are helping others stay safe by staying home and that you’ll arrange other ways for them to communicate with friends for them.
Plan a Schedule
It’s important to create a schedule, both with your important work duties and planned office hours and children’s routines. Check with your employer about how many hours they really want you to work per day and build a flexible routine from there. If your children are older, you may be able to schedule some work-time, such as catching up on emails, when they are doing their supplemental assignments that were sent home.
Set Realistic Expectations
Set realistic expectations and convey these to your boss and co-workers. When you are honest about what you’re dealing with, your level of anxiety lessons. Sometimes, you and your spouse may have to share an office and a child may pop up in a video call. If it’s a beautiful day, maybe you everyone skips the schedule and goes for a walk, but then you receive a work phone call. There is nothing wrong by admitting you wanted to take some time outdoors with your family.
Work during Nap Time
Take advantage of nap time while you’re working from home. This is the ideal time to schedule work conference calls, especially if you’re going to get an hour of silence. If your child isn’t tired that day, aim for quiet time, with some books and close the day. Recognize the importance of separating “parenting time,” and “working time.”
Allow more Screen Time
It’s all right to allow your children more screen time during this stressful time. Sometimes, letting your preschooler watch cartoons for an hour may allow you to send out some important emails interrupted. Teens need screen time to keep connected with their friends. While they can’t see them daily, many teenagers are playing video games online and communicating with their friends on Discord. This eases their stress and allows them to maintain a semi-normal social life.
It may help if you find other stay-at-home parents on-line who are struggling with the same issues you are. Then, you won’t feel as alone. If you need more assistance, please contact us at (510) 949-8668.