For parents, social distancing has meant a lot of togetherness with immediate family.
School has moved online for many students across the country. (Is it summer break yet?) Packed extracurricular schedules have been replaced with leisure family dinners. And kids are having a lot of time to just be kids.
Sounds great. However, it can also be tricky, especially if you’re combining your newfound family fun with working from home for the first time. Your heart is telling you it’s a good thing. They’ll be off to college before we know it, right?! But your head is reminding you of to-do lists and various work deadlines you need to meet – all while you’re also assuming the roles of full-time educator and coach on top of the regular parent stuff.
So how do you successfully juggle working from home – and keeping the kids happy? Here are some tips on balancing being a parent and a professional through this pandemic:
Give yourself some grace.
Most of us have never parented through a global pandemic to the scale of our current reality. It’s okay to feel in over your head and to go into survival mode. If at the end of the day, you managed to get something accomplished, and you didn’t lose a kid – you’re good.
Remember, there’s no award for best quarantine parent. No matter how much we strive to be the best and show our children the best, all of us are human.
Rethink how you define a successful day.
Chances are the standard 9-5 work schedule won’t work at home. Carve out a few moments to assess the tasks you need to accomplish and block out your day. Think about what tasks absolutely need to happen during typical business hours. Prioritize them and save the rest for when the kids are keeping themselves entertained (if you’re lucky), napping (if you’re really lucky) or after they go to bed.
Your days might be longer working remotely. But incremental success is still success.
Encourage your kids to play independently.
Each morning give the kids two or three ideas for activities that can serve as boredom busters if needed. Short on ideas? A quick search on Pinterest will probably suffice. Have art materials at the ready and ask them to write letters or draw pictures for friends and family, health care professionals and first responders. Get them involved in cleaning their rooms or send them outside on a scavenger hunt.
Tell them it’s okay to be bored. (Like we were in the old days.)
Remember their attention spans aren’t your attention spans.
Change up the scenery every few hours. Go upstairs if you were downstairs. If the weather is nice, field calls and emails from your back porch while they play. If they’re getting antsy and grumpy, take a quick walk to get their energy out.
Think about how the pandemic has affected your life. Remember your kids are also processing complicated emotions. They likely miss their grandparents, friends and routines. They might need your attention or act out more than they normally do – and that’s okay. Everything is a phase, and phases don’t last forever.
Before we know it, we’ll be back to normal.
Chelsea Schneider is a content writer for Bowe Digital based out of Bargersville, Indiana. When she’s not writing about the amazing things our partners are doing, she’s hanging out with her three kids, ages 8, 6 and 1. Currently, her days involve lots of e-learning (second grade math is hard,) lots of snacks and enough joy to forget the stress. She crafted this piece with help from Bradley Erb. Brad is Bowe Digital’s Business Development Manager and the father of two boys, ages 10 and 4. In between the repeated chorus of “I’m hungry, “I’m full,” and “Can I have a snack,” he is enjoying watching his sons use the skills he’s been teaching them their whole lives. Those include treating each other with respect, having compassion and helping others.