It’s a problem that many working parents are facing right now: They’re working from home and their children are home too, learning virtually as schools revert to online coursework in the face of the COVID-19 threat. It’s inevitable that this approach is going to have its difficulties!
How can you stay productive throughout your workday when you’re managing your kids at home at the same time?
Try to set a family schedule.
Create a family schedule that allows everyone to live and work harmoniously on days where the children have school and you’re working. Make sure your children know that there are certain times — during meetings, for example — when you just can’t be available. Schedule lunchtime so that you can adjust your working schedule around your kids’ breaks from classes. Setting boundaries in this fashion helps everyone stick to their personal schedules and get through the day. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect, though, and you can adjust on the fly as needed.
Adjust your idea of a workday.
Remember that flexibility is one of the perks of working at home. Try adjusting your idea of the eight-hour workday a bit and see how that helps. You might try getting up a few hours before the kids wake up; this time can be crucial for getting a little extra work done. Or, push non-crucial tasks to the end of the day, when you can keep one eye on the kids and the other on your laptop.
Keep the kids entertained when they’re not learning.
When your children aren’t learning, they’ll need something to do — otherwise, they’re likely to bother you. Try setting up a special afternoon movie to give yourself a few hours of kid-free (there’s no shame in a little extra screen time during these unprecedented days!) or come up with a special project that your kids could work on to keep their hands busy. Even keeping your kids occupied for a half-hour can make all the difference when it comes to staying productive with your workload.
Remember that no one has all the answers.
It’s easy to feel that other parents have it all figured out, or that you’re doing a horrible job managing your own working life and your children’s schedules simultaneously. But don’t forget: everyone is figuring these things out as they go along, just like you are. There are no perfect answers! Be flexible, try new things and see what works for you and your family, and you’ll be managing work and your children’s school schedules harmoniously in no time.
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