Working From Home With Kids

6/4/2020 | By: Hilary Behan |

Throughout this Covid-19 pandemic, some of us are fortunate enough to have a job that can be performed remotely. Sounds great doesn't it?! For some, definitely! For parents? Perhaps not so much. This blog goes out to the working-from-home mams and dads who have kids running around the house while they try to work.

Let’s not forget that because of the coronavirus, and the high level of contagiousness it holds, all the preschools, primary schools, secondary schools and colleges have had to shut. It’s safe to say now that this was the right thing to do to keep our society safe, to slow down the spread of the virus and essentially save the lives of vulnerable people in Ireland. What most of us working parents can probably also agree on, is that it's a struggle having kids around the house 24/7, especially while we’re trying to get through our 9-5’s from home. 

Firstly, keep calm, you’re only human! 

Something to remember is that no one is expecting you to be a superhero, people ( and employers) will understand that you’re in a difficult situation and that you cannot control everything around you. Productivity will naturally be lower for most parents who essentially now have to juggle two full time jobs. So just take a breath and go easy on yourself, accept that you may not be at the top of your game and use the following tips to try to manage and operate your household just that little bit better.

Schedule Their Daily Activities 

Keep your kids on a schedule, much like you would be keeping yourself. Depending on how old they are, schedules will vary as well as activities. Ideally, you should be planning activities that don't require any or much supervision, so you can work away in your office without any distractions.

If you have very young children (toddlers or babies):

  • Make the most of nap time! Schedule their feeding times into specific time frames and coordinate with your partner or older children if you have them a schedule where they can help with supervision so you can get in some quality work time. 
  • Baby swings or bouncy chairs accompanied with shows, videos and musical songs for babies/toddlers
  • Educational games or apps for toddlers

If your kids are older:

Plan an educational itinerary for them much in line with their school hours. Have your lunch at the same time so you can spend time together, then set them a list of tasks or activities to perform while you finish out your work day.

  • Arts and crafts tasks
  • Reading a certain amount of a book and writing a summary of what they read
  • Writing stories/ journal entries
  • Filling out worksheets 
  • Watching an educational programme, or even just a movie.
  • Fortnight/Minecraft/ Any online video game platform where they can also socialise with friends 

If you plan their day they will be less likely to be bored and disturb you during work hours.

Prep Snacks 

Something we all may be noticing is the amount children eat and get hungry! To avoid the constant call for snacks and “mommy i’m hungry” - wake up earlier and prep snacks and meals for the working day. Then you have everything ready for when they need a top up. Try your best to keep the snacks healthy! Leaving a lot of unhealthy and processed snacks will lead to a binge and it’s important to keep your children healthy and enforce good eating habits. This is especially the case now where their exercise levels may be lower than usual.

Set Boundaries & Reward Good Behaviour

If your children are old enough to understand- explain to them the concept of work, and how you must do your job to make money to feed the family. Explain that while mommy or daddy is working, even though they may be at home while doing so, they are not to be disturbed unless it's an emergency. Work in a separate room if possible, a bedroom or office, to establish a clear ‘work space’ / ‘do not enter’ zone. Explain your room or office is now your workplace and they need to treat it as such. Reward them with good behaviour- perhaps during lunchtime do some baking together- they get to spend time with you and get a tasty treat for behaving well and keeping to the routine. Or maybe plan an extra special activity for that evening- order them some new clothes and have a mini fashion show for the family! Reward them with treats and quality time together. 

Use What Works

Don't get too bogged down if you feel that your kids are watching too much television, or are on their devices too much. The situation we’re in is inevitably going to mean more screen time for all of us- kids included. If you get a sudden call, have an urgent deadline to meet, or a really important day to get through, don't feel guilty to take the easier option of throwing on their favourite show or letting them play video games all day. Use what works right now, if it means they’re watching Netflix most of the day but it allows you to get some work done, so be it. When you’re no longer working and are free to give them attention- then do something educational or interactive with them and with the family.

Virtual Play Dates

Something that can be great for kids at this time, thanks to the amazing technology of today, is a virtual hang out with friends. It's important to keep connected at this time, and the same goes for children. Organise virtual playdates for your children and their school friends! I’ve seen my son connecting with friends via Playstation, he and his friends all play the same game and can interact with each other too. He enjoys it, it keeps him occupied and socially interacting, which is important for child and social development. There are plenty of video connection platforms that kids can use to catch up, show off their latest arts and crafts masterpiece or even to just have some company.

Last but not least, don’t sweat the small stuff. 

Don't feel embarrassed if you need to tend to kids during a work call- people are understanding and if you just explain your situation to your employer I’m sure he’ll understand. Discuss options if you need to, ask if you can work when you can and be flexible with hours. If you think you'll be more productive working a few hours in the early morning and a few more late at night- then see if this is something your employer will allow. Do what works for you and your kids, and just do the best you can, that’s all anyone can ask for.

DPAM are still delivering our kids clothes Nationwide. Search through our collection here to have your children dressed and ready for Summer.