Juggling work, restless toddlers and chatty young housemates while we experience the “freedom” of working from home, will be a challenge for most of us.
Kids peeking in on video calls and dogs barking manically in the background … let’s face it – getting work done is going to be tough. Hopefully employers will be understanding of the situation.
Here’s the thing, kids often respond negatively to any strain on the family unit. While we all want to protect our children from the worries of the outside world, this is simply not possible in the current situation. These are strange and uncertain times, and it’s important to remain positive, especially in the company of young children.
Children’s attitudes and behaviours reflect what they sense in their parents, so be careful what you say and how you exhibit anxiety. Use age appropriate language to explain what is going on and motivate them on how they can do their bit. Turn off the news and update yourself in private.
There’s no doubt that the weeks ahead will test your ingenuity and you’ll need a variety of tricks up your sleeve to ensure that everyone stays occupied.
HERE’S HOW TO SET YOUR KIDS (AND YOURSELF!) UP FOR SUCCESS:
Stick to the usual routine as much as possible. Kids are creatures of habit and feel safe and secure with structure in their lives. Spending the day in jammies is not a good idea! Adhere to fixed mealtimes and routine bedtimes.
Ask their help to set up a chore chart. Everyone should clean and tidy up every day. The difference in dust, mess and general grottiness between a family at work and school every day, and one at home all the time, is more than a weekly blitz can cope with. Pro tip: Nothing maintains good habits quite like sticker rewards. Make it fun, set a timer and challenge them to better their time every day. Or, reward “work” with pocket money to be put in a visible jar. Once lockdown is over, take them to spend their hard-earned money on something special.
Make a game box for times when you need to get some urgent work done. Don’t feel guilty in not participating in everything. Kids need to play independently as well. Fill a box with things your child can play with alone – items like colouring books, puzzles, Lego’s, Play-dough. Introduce “game box time” as part of your daily routine.
Do good and have fun. Have a closet parade. Sort clothes into piles to keep, or to donate to the less fortunate as soon as lockdown is done. Do the same with toys and books.
Build a fort. No child will turn down the chance to make secret base. Provide torches and snacks – they’ll be much more likely to play independently once they’re inside.
Do child-friendly online workouts. Check out British fitness coach, Joe Wicks’ “5 Minute Move” to help kids stay active during the coronavirus.
Ask their help in preparing nutritious meals. Kids are more likely to eat what they don’t like when preparing it themselves.
Thing is, even with the most perfectly planned schedule, you will still have days when you just can’t master the energy to come up with even the simplest activity and instead let them watch another episode of their favourite show. Screen time will increase. That’s okay too.
So mom and dad, go easy on yourself and on your little ones.