Over the coming months, there may be times when you will work from home with your children. We at Creative World recognize the challenges in meeting the needs of both your child and employer. Below are some tips to help make these times successful.
1. Divide your workday into segments.
Plan your work breaks around the times when your child will need you most when they get hungry or tired. Ask your teachers for a copy of their daily schedule, which will help to understand when your child is used to having snacks, lunch, and nap. Keeping them on a schedule will help everyone through transition periods.
2. Make their space special.
Designate a nearby work area for your child so you can accomplish your tasks while monitoring their play. Check your camera angles to ensure space is out of view for virtual meetings. Make it special by adding a workspace and a soft space with books. This might include a desk and chair next to a bean bag and a bin of books.
3. Save the most engaging activities.
Set aside some favorite quiet activities that you know will keep your child engaged for longer periods. Some items to include play dough, stickers, open-ended art materials, puzzles, building blocks, etc. Only pull out these activities when you really can’t be disturbed. Saving these materials for those times makes them extra special and may extend their engagement.
4. Make the timer your friend.
If you have a 30-minute meeting, set a timer just before the meeting begins. Let your child know that you will be busy for a little while and they can talk to you when the timer goes off. Keep them in the room with you throughout your meeting to avoid needing to leave the area. Remember children have short attention spans. Anything longer than 30 minutes may require you to check-in with your child to provide reassurance.
5. Use a headset.
Headsets will help minimize the background noise that your audience hears and prevents your child from being distracted by the voices of others on the call.
6. Have snacks handy.
Before beginning a meeting ensure your child has all they need. This includes activities for engagement, snack, and drink. Ensure your child can independently eat the snack, opening any packages ahead of time.
7. Schedule screen time.
Everyone needs some downtime. Make screen time special by using it sparingly. If a screen is always on it will be less effective in keeping your child engaged when you are required to have those longer work periods. Include 30 minutes of screen time as part of their regular schedule and then keep it as a special activity for those long work sessions.
8. Let go of the guilt.
There are times when you’ll get frustrated. We’re living in unprecedented times and we’re all just doing the best we can. Verbalize your feelings to your child in an appropriate manner. It’s helpful for them to see how adults work through emotions so they can better understand their own.
9. Practice self-care.
As caregivers, we cannot help others if our own batteries are depleted. Take some time for yourself by meditating, exercising, going for a walk, or however you prefer to relax. By taking time for you, your teaching your child to value themselves and their own mental health in times of stress.
10. Get outside!
Children need to run off their energy and engage in the outdoors every day. Build several outside playtimes into your daily schedule. Some may include you watching your child play while you’re still working on your laptop but remember that you need time to play too. Make sure that at least one of your play periods is work free and where engage in outside games with your child.