COVID-19 has created challenges for all of us, but working parents are navigating through the balancing act of working from home while also parenting and assisting in distant learning.
H2O Media’s founder and CEO, Sara Connors, knows just how challenging this can be as she deals with running a company and parenting two young children every day. Here are some of her tips to help you stay sane!
1. Make your kids’ school schedule work around yours!
If your morning starts with loads of emails and fires to put out, it might work best to start your kids 30 minutes to an hour after you start working. Put on a tv show or give them a book to read while you get caught up on answering your morning emails and calls. You will be much more patient and ready to be interrupted once your most urgent work is done.
2. Set a schedule for your kids school work
This may sound silly but it’s a game changer! Many parents say their kids look at their day of school work and feel overwhelmed. Deciding to do school work in the same order every day can make a big difference. For example: First, listen to school announcements; second, check in your attendance; third, time for math; fourth, do reading, etc etc. This helps with independently moving on to the next subject and having a plan for the day.
3. Explain to your kids how they could make your job and day easier
Now that you are all in the same space, their behavior and attitude can affect your day. Explain to them how they can help you have a better day at your job. Explain how if they put in their best effort and attitude, it will make your job easier as a working parent at home. You can also encourage them by letting them know that you will do the same for them.
4. Get dressed in the morning!
I cannot stress this enough. When you shower and get dressed for the day, you will feel better and be better organized. This will work for the kids, as well!
5. After their schoolwork is done, schedule independent activities
I made a list of activities that my kids could do either together or on their own that would be independent and give me some time to focus on my work. In each hour time slot, I list activities for that time to choose from. About five options for each time slot keeps it simple and easy to choose. This also frees up my evenings to spend time with my family, as I have completed my work for the day.
6. Give yourself grace to have bad days
Some days will be bad. That is ok. We are working parents who are also trying to teach, entertain and parent all while trying to get our work done. It’s NOT easy! Some days may be harder than others. Give yourself grace that you cannot be perfect during this time and neither can your children.
7. Don’t compare yourself to stay-at-home moms
If you’re seeing posts of your friends who stay home or are off work doing Pinterest-worthy art with their kids, stop letting this make you feel bad! You can do fun stuff on the weekends and at night if you are able to (or have the energy to). Your kids will be just as happy if you snuggle with them on the couch at night and watch a show as they would be if you decorated the whole sidewalk in a stained glass design. Different things work for different families, and not everyone has to do the same thing during this time.
8. Teach them easy meals to make
Some of you may already have independent kids that make their own meals but if you don’t this can be a huge help on those busy work days! Little kids would probably love learning to make their own toast, cereal or grabbing their own yogurt in the morning. Making them responsible for at least 1 meal a day will help you!
9. Don’t beat yourself up over screen time
Some days will have more than others but as parents, we need to stop beating ourselves up about this! Your kids may have more screen time than normal during a global pandemic. Give yourself some grace — you are doing the best you can.
10. Hugs are the best medicine
With all that is going on in the world, we are stressed, our kids are stressed, and none of this is normal! We all have our moments where it all just feels overwhelming, and we are sad. Take breaks to hug your kids; it will be good for both you and them.
We are living through an unprecedented experience, but it’s important to remember that we will get through this together. Working at home with your kids can be challenging, but these 10 tips will help to make things easier until the world gets back to normal.