Work at home and take care of your kids full-time?This is just too unreal…
By JoAnn Robinson, Parent Educator at Peace at Home Parenting
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For many families where the adults work full-time, grappling with this extended home-bound circumstance due to COVID-19 is not easy. Here are some quick tips to help you get started:
- Start with the First Day. You have likely faced this circumstance before with a school/child care closure for snow. Ask yourself what have you done on those days? What’s applicable to what you can do now? Some COVID-19 experts recommend that parents limit the numbers of children kids play with and do it outdoors as much as possible where it’s easier to keep the recommended distance of 3-6’. Remember to make sure everyone washes or sanitizes their hands the right way (scrubbing for 20 seconds) before and after playing. Being in nature for a hike or playing outdoors reduces stress, and the exposure to sunlight and exercise helps to improve sleep therefore strengthening our immune systems.
- Success after Day 1. How much work can you do at home? Try to find flexibility in your time to allow for 15-20 minutes with your kids every 2 hours or so to increase your productivity. During those interludes, snuggle, read a short book together, and help organize the next activity. One option is to start with alternating reading aloud together and then ask them to continue without you with the mission of filling you in on what happened at the next break. For younger children, utilize coloring books the same way by starting a picture at a table near where you work and then have them finish the drawings before the next break. Legos, Train sets, even sorting socks can be brought out to the floor near your desk. Praise your child every time s/he gets involved in something you like; you will get more of what you praise—so be lavish this first week to set a positive tone.
- The Ultimate Balancing Act. Maintaining your energy between work and kids will require lots of discipline. Here is a great tactic my Osteopath recommended to me. Before and after your transitions to spend those quality moments with your kids, sit quietly for 30-60 sec and mindfully breathe. Count with your fingers on your right hand the five breaths you take before getting up or sitting back down to work. I developed a Flash Class “I Get So Irritated” if you would like to learn more and find yourself feeling irritable for more than a few moments each day.