With the lockdown disrupting our everyday lives and routines with the onset of school and office closures, it's no wonder a lot of us have been feeling the strain.
Trying to balance our home lives with our working lives can be incredibly tough on a normal day, but now as the two have been mixed together with most of us required to work from home, these stresses have only been increased. Juggling work commitments and child care is tough at the best of times.
But it seems that now we are having to be a parent, teacher and colleague all at the same time on a daily basis, without even getting a chance to leave the house. There is no doubt that this is unbelievably daunting and challenging for any parent. With the government's coronavirus lockdown plans having been extended by another 3 weeks minimum, it's now more important than ever to make sure that we find the best way to keep our families, colleagues and most vitally our minds happy and healthy as we feel the pressures of working from home.
However, these recent adjustments we've undergone to the patterns of our work-life balance to limit the spread of the coronavirus can be made easier than you think, making your daily routine manageable and enjoyable whilst effectively juggling work commitments with all the chaos and fun that comes with family life. Take a read below at the 7 tips we recommend to help make working from home when you have kids go a little bit smoother, and be much easier on all your family as a whole.
Create A Separate Dedicated Work Space
Working from home whilst trying to keep your kids occupied and entertained during lockdown can be tiring and distracting. It's now more important than ever to create a separate, designated workspace for yourself that allows you to get some much-needed distance and quiet time from hectic family life. This is a great way to boost productivity and focus too, and having somewhere where you can ideally shut the door and be completely separate from the rest of the house means you can really make an easier transition from work and home time. Whilst understandably some parents don't have the option of having a separate space in the house away from communal areas, the feeling of being in an office can still be achieved by making some simple changes. The kitchen table can be used as a great place to work, and adding things to the space such as office plants, filing boxes and stationery is an effective way to make it clear to the rest of your family that this is the 'work zone'.
Recreate Your Kid's Very Own School Day
A vital way to make working from home as a busy parent nicer and smoother is to establish a routine for both yourself and your kids. Although at the moment it seems more than ever that the days are all blurring into one, Monday to Friday can be clearly designated as the working days, leaving the weekend to be enjoyable and relaxing for the whole family. Making sure that the weekend is still the weekend is so important, and a great way to achieve this is to create a school routine for your kids during the week. Setting up a workspace for them and setting daily learning tasks is an amazing way to sync up your routine with theirs. Adding in some fun subjects and activities too like arts and crafts can keep them entertained for hours whilst letting their creative hands get active.
Have Separate Phones
If possible, having two different phones, a work one and a personal one is a fantastic way to really separate home and work life and maintain that all-important balance. Making sure that no work-related calls or emails are seen and acknowledged during inconvenient or unsociable hours is an amazing way to really maintain family time at the moment, and giving your kids some more of the attention they may have been lacking a bit more from you throughout the working day. Taking this simple step means that you can are completely free to spend your spare time with your family, whilst reducing stress too.
Technology Is Your Friend
On some of the less sunny days, your kids are likely going to be spending most of their time indoors, which means the likelihood of distractions happening throughout your day is increased. However, in these situations technology can most definitely be your friend. There are so many apps, games and TV shows that are both fun and educational that your kids will be sure to have hours of fun playing whilst you get your work done. Websites such as TedEd are amazing, with so much content and educational lectures for kids that they can get stuck into watching whilst you work. Netflix and YouTube as well have some brilliant educational TV shows and films for your little ones to engage in that certainly won't make them lose any interest. ABCmouse.com is another fantastic option that uses stories, quizzes and learning activities to keep kids occupied for hours. Downloading some of these is a great way to keep your kids learning whilst removing ay screen-time guilt.
Make Your Breaks More Fun
With the working day often being filled with things you just cannot move or miss like those all-important meetings and briefings with your colleagues, utilising all the time that you do have available is a good way spend time with your kids and striking a healthy balance between work and play. Lunchtimes are a great time to dedicate to your kids. Cooking and preparing lunch together, spending some time playing in the garden or getting stuck into some arty activities are all amazing ways to keep your little ones happy and active, whilst also giving yourself an important break too. Creating an activity calendar is also a great idea to involve your kids in planning some of your routine, whilst also getting them excited for whatever activity you have planned to spend your lunchtime.
Use Nap Times To Your Advantage
Just because your workdays are still workdays, it doesn't mean your routine has to be as rigid as it was before. With working from home comes flexibility, and ditching the 9 to 5 may actually be more beneficial than you'd first think. If your kids are prone to taking a nap or two during the day, or if their bedtimes are earlier, this can create an hour or two of peaceful time where you can focus and be more productive without any unexpected distractions. Nap times and bedtimes are your best friends whilst you work from home, and scheduling your working hours around these can be incredibly helpful and increase the amount of work you're able to get done in a day. As a bonus, it may mean that you gain a few more quiet moments to yourself during the day as well.
Connect With Friends
During times like these, connecting with each other and maintaining those bonds with our loved ones is more important than ever before. With all the wonders of modern technology, keeping these connections has never been easier, with video chat apps such as Zoom and FaceTime becoming more and more popular. If you have friends and work colleagues who are in a similar situation to you of trying to find a healthy balance between work commitments and spending time with the family, why not use this to your own advantage? During the day whilst you're working, getting your kids together and talking to each other over video chat is an amazing way to keep them socialising and for you to be more productive and focused at work. You could even set up some activities for them to do together, such as baking the same recipe, playing a game or painting a picture together, something that will surely entertain everyone and provide the most amount of fun during any working day.
Having loved everything art and crafts so much as a child and wanting to pursue this when she grew up, Eleanor recently moved to London from Bath to study for a degree in Fine Art. Eleanor loves exploring the city in her spare time, especially visiting galleries and seeking out new arts events to go to with her partner. When she’s not out enjoying what the capital has to offer, Eleanor is a keen outdoor adventurer and lover of all things travel, always looking for a new destination to discover.