Work From Home Diary: How to Work from Home with Kids
By Hani Khan
Day 3 - Wednesday, March 18Day by day, it seems like new information is slowly rolling in and impacting us all in different ways. Today’s announcement was that schools in California may be closed until August effectively signifying the end of the school year for many children. With schools closing, many parents are shifting to working from home whether it’s company mandated or because child-care options are now limited due to social distancing. It’s a delicate time as many parents are trying to figure out the balance of working, juggling their kids (or other family members) and making sure that they stay sane through it all. Many of us are fortunate enough to have jobs that allow us to work from home on occasions whether it’s having an appointment in the middle of the day or getting back from travel and needing a day to settle back in. But these days, it’s a prolonged work from home situation that involves compromise and adjustments from all parties living in the house. In a shared space, it's hard to go anywhere for a moment of privacy (especially with kids having a tendency of following you to the bathroom...what’s up with that?) but even more so when you’re trying to concentrate and get work done. The upcoming weeks are going to be a little different with kids, partners, family or pets being in your ‘work environment’ but here are some tips on staying productive while working from home:
Set and share an agenda
Children need structure modeled after their routine at schools. Share a list of activities and an agenda for the day with breaks in between so that the kids have something to look forward to. It’ll be an adjustment figuring out what works and what doesn’t but if you have two adults at home, tag-team to make sure they stay on track. And if you’re the only one home and need time to focus, screen time.
Cabin fever can and will get the best of us but especially kids. Getting outside and letting kids run around for 15-20 mins helps them release the pent up energy and allows them to settle down to concentrate on school work. There’s a reason why recess is used as a mid-morning break in schools. Get creative with their outdoor activities so that they have something to look forward to.
Use headphones to signify that this is work time for when kids start wandering around the house. If you’re constantly on calls, invest in headsets with noise-cancelling microphones - your kids won’t stop making noise but it’ll prevent people on the other end of the call from hearing it.
Utilize screen time
Schedule screen time for when you need to concentrate or in meetings and can’t be distracted. There are many educational video resources available so you don’t think they’re mindlessly watching Youtube or Netflix.