Many of you are not only starting to work from home for the first time, you’re doing it with a bunch of brand-new young “coworkers.” It’s a lot. We get it! Here are some tips for managing your work with kids:
1. Create a schedule
Keep it simple (use 60-90 minute blocks of time, or even 30-minute chunks for preschool-age) and post it somewhere where everyone can see it. Make note of when kids will do schoolwork, chores, or play outside. Add in designated times for snacks and screens so kids know when to expect them and aren’t constantly asking.
2. Print activity pages
For younger kids, print lots of coloring and activity pages. We have some free coloring pages you can download, which include conversation prompts to use with your kids. Coloring pages, board games, and puzzles are great alternatives to screen time.
3. Use academic resources
Many schools are doing e-learning right now. Even if yours isn’t, consider adding in a few blocks of school time to the day to keep kids’ minds active and occupied. A number of places are offering free resources to parents during this time, such as Scholastic, Khan Academy, and epic books. Prodigy is also a very popular math game for elementary kids (several of our team’s kids are obsessed!).
4. Connect with authors and artists
Many authors and artists are creating videos right now, reading books, giving art tutorials, and more. Zoos and museums are providing free virtual tours. A few of our team’s favorites:
- Mo Willem’s Lunch Doodles
- Cincinnati Zoo’s Home Safari
- Stories for Little Revolutionaries (stories read by a Preemptive Love teammate!)
5. Family meeting
This is new for everyone. Talk to your kids about the new setup and encourage teamwork as a family. Older siblings can help younger siblings with schoolwork. Talk about dividing up chores in the house. And communicate what you need to do your job. It’s not realistic to expect zero interruptions and complete quiet, but it’s OK to communicate that you need time to focus, and to minimize interruptions while on a call. Gently remind your kids, especially in the first week, why you’re not always available even though you’re present in the house. Give them a heads up before you go on a call so they know you’ll be occupied.
6. Be flexible and take breaks
Remember kids are human, too. If it’s just not working one day, reboot the schedule. Work in a dance party, a kids’ exercise video, a quick walk around the block. Maybe one day they don’t want to read, but they will want to color. Or they want to write letters to cousins instead of writing in their journals for school. As tumultuous and stressful as this time is for us, it also is for our kids. Have patience. Try as much as you can to make this new situation work for them, just as much as it does for you.
7. Keep kids connected
As much as you need connection and relationship right now, so do your kids. Set up times for them to video chat with family members, friends, and classmates. Validate their experience in this but encourage them to think about ways they could still reach out and talk to those friends they are missing.
As much as you can, try to enjoy the extra time with your kids. You’re able to invite them in to your work world more than ever before. Show them some of your tasks and talk about what you love about your job and why it makes a difference. Model hard work and responsibility.
Your day will not go perfectly. And probably everyone—adults included—will need to apologize for having a bad attitude or losing their patience. But remember your privilege that you’re able to work from home and your family is safe.
And know that around the world, people everywhere are struggling and learning through this just like you. We’re all in this. Together.