Whether your school is already closed, about to close or you’re making the difficult decision as a family to self-isolate, as working parents you’re more than likely struggling with how you’re going to manage your kids while also working from home. We all know how hard it is to concentrate and work effectively when kids are constantly interrupting – despite the very best of bribery tactics.
Everyone’s home situation is different and how you cope during these uncertain times will depend on the age of your kids and how much support you have to juggle the load. But here we share some tried and tested strategies to help keep everyone in your house safe, productive and sane.
- Try to keep a school routine in place. Structure your day as much as you can to mimic your kids’ school routine. Make their packed lunches first thing so they’re not constantly bugging you for food. If you can, allocate work time in the morning followed by morning tea, more work time, lunch and then more work time or physical activity. Schools will likely send home digital resources so they can also work during those scheduled work times. This will hopefully free up some blocks of time for you to concentrate on your own work commitments.
- Plan your day the night before. If you can’t keep a school routine in place, or need to work for longer, plan your day the night before if you can. What hours are you going to work? Are you going to start early before the kids wake up? Or work late when they’re in bed? Communicate with your employer to reduce the stress of trying to do all the things, all at once.
- Schedule meetings around your new routine. Where possible, ask your employer or clients to schedule meetings around your new schedule. And if necessary, just be honest about the possibility of small humans interrupting your calls.
- Explore a range of online education resources. The Khan Academy offers free online education for a wide range of learners. There are daily schedules for all age groups which are great to help you structure the day for you and your kids. You could also explore the Facebook education series with Chris Field – Serial Disruptor. His live educational streams are suited to the 5 to 11-year age range and include live streaming with giraffes and looking inside police cars! Katie’s Classroom is also good for online maths tutorials tailored to Year 3 and up.
- Subscribe to Disney+. If your kids aren’t able to work independently or entertain themselves, there’s always Disney+ which includes National Geographic documentaries. Other streaming options are Netflix, ABC Kids or ABC Me on iView.
- Set up a craft table. Again, if you have younger kids, set up a space where they can immerse themselves in creativity – whether it’s a craft project, water table or Lego build. Just take a deep breath and deal with having to clean up the mess when they’re done.
- If finances permit, buy a games console (yes, these are extreme times!). There is nothing normal about our current public health crisis and surprisingly, there are some great games out there (some with a small amount of educational value) including:
Nintendo Switch (younger kids):
Yoshi’s Crafted World (rated G)
Captain Toads Treasure Tracker (rated G)
Mario Kart 8 (rated G)
Nintendo Switch (primary school):
Pokemon Sword / Shield (rated PG)
Minecraft (rated PG)
New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe (rated G)
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (rated G)
Playstation 4 (younger kids)
Kingdom Hearts III (rated PG)
Just Dance 2020 (rated G)
Playstation 4 (primary school)
NBA 2K20 (rated G)
Minecraft (rated PG)
EA Sports Fifa 20 (rated G)
(Please check all game ratings to ensure it is appropriate for your child.)
In short, normal rules have gone out the window and the work from home parent juggle is all too real. We have to do what we need to do to be as productive as possible while managing our work and our kids.
What strategies work for you? Share your tips below.
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