The corona crisis has completely changed our lives. These are bizarre times, for yourself but also for our offspring. People are technically unemployed or work so hard in healthcare or the supermarket. But many of you have also been working from home since last week and have to take care of the children at the same time . Your new colleagues are often unpredictable, a bit busy and have needs that we should not lose sight of. It's very challenging and we don't know how long it will take, but it's not impossible with a little planning and our tips for working from home with children .
Tip 1: make sure you have a plan
Nothing is the same and yet you have work that needs to be done. Planning your working day as before is impossible, but structure is very important for children and brings peace . At school their day is full of things: eating, playing, playing outside, learning, fruit time, ... and that is for a reason. Unfortunately, that is now completely gone and a day of doing nothing is nice, but after a while it starts to get boring. Structure makes children calm. They know what to expect and what is expected of them. It can also help you see things more clearly and adjust your goals. Of course, planning is not sacred, see it as a guideline. For example, sit down together and write down what you would like to do together or alone. This way you can also plan your work better. Visually visualize this schedule and make clear agreements, including when mom or dad works.
Tip 2: Start the day with a moment together
These days, older children and even toddlers receive tasks via email from their teacher. This is extra work and requires new planning. A nice idea is to start the day with breakfast together and then practice, color or do a task together. Afterwards, they can run wild in the garden, build a camp or play separately while you start your working day in (relative) peace.
Even if there are no tasks, it is smart to start the day with a moment together. Play together for a while, pay attention. Refuel. Children have antennae to detect that you want to do something quickly. So that doesn't work. If you give them some attention, they will play well on their own afterwards. Are you no longer sure what to do together? Then go for a walk around the block, make a chalk drawing or read a book together. Sometimes it really doesn't have to be difficult to make a world of difference.
Tip 3: Don't plan a full working day
At work, your standard working day consists of 8 hours of sitting at your desk and working. This is not feasible with mini colleagues in the house. Every now and then someone needs to go to the toilet, they need your help or they need attention. It is best to work in blocks of a few hours and possibly plan a conference call when they are taking an afternoon nap or just after a break, lunch or craft time together. If you can't get ready during the day, try getting up an hour earlier or finishing things after they're in bed. Sounds debilitating, but this gives you more breathing space during the day. A lot depends on the age and rhythm of your child, but we can only recommend that you make as much use of the quiet moments as possible to get as much done as possible.
If you both work from home as parents, the best tip is to alternate . For example, mom does the morning shift, dad does the afternoon shift or vice versa. This does not mean that you have to schedule half a day of leave every day. But when you are 'on call' you occasionally play with them, fill the drinking cup, go for a walk with them and the other parent does the same in the afternoon. This way you can continue working relatively speaking. Realize that this is a luxury and that teamwork is a winner here too.
Tip 4: Practice and go for incentives
Calling your boss while a toddler is hanging on your leg or shouting next to your desk is not a great situation. Make it clear and visualize when you don't have time to play or answer their questions. Even with the little ones. For example, you can make a traffic light or pendant for the door of your office with a red bulb and green bulb. If it is red they must be quiet. If it is green, they can simply ask their question. Try to practice this before it actually happens. You will be surprised how quickly little ones get used to this.
Another super tip that works well here: how to keep incentives in hand. Make a box with super interesting toys or fun things that you can give your children when you have to do something important or really don't want to be disturbed. Life saver! These can be new items, but they can also be a printed coloring page or a forgotten toy.
Tip 5: Coworking is also possible
If you are unable to get your capons to play independently, let them co-work with you . Pull up a chair at your desk and let them draw a picture, do a puzzle or play with the cars while they sit next to you and you continue working. This is of course not possible all day long, but it does ensure that everyone stays busy and you don't have to shout all the time: go play now, mommy has to work. Connection is very important these days and can certainly be achieved with some creativity.
We are all in it together, but we will all come out of it together. This situation is unclear to everyone and please ask for flexibility. Let go, it takes quite an adjustment and that is normal. Don't try to perform all your roles from colleague to housewife and school teacher to perfection non-stop. This is not possible. We all walk slower these days but if we do this together, we will arrive together.