Updated: Dec 22, 2021
In these extraordinary times, many adults are choosing or being told to work from home as part of social distancing or lockdown measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Although many parents prefer working from home as they are still able to earn an income while keeping their children safe, many parents also find this a challenge especially if their children are still young or require help for online lessons/home-based learning.
Here are 5 useful tips to make this transition easier.
1. Set up designated work/study spaces.
Create designated work/study areas for different members of the family and use them consistently.
For the parent, explain that when you’re sitting there, you are working and should not be disturbed unless it is an "emergency". Discuss and agree beforehand what is considered an emergency.
Let your kids know your scheduled break times where they can ask you for help, or can just hug, chat or play with you.
2. Help kids create a routine to add structure to their day.
Work with your kids to create their daily or weekly schedule. Give them opportunities to choose some of their own activities and help them be more independent.
Take advantage of quiet time activities such as (silent) reading storybooks, doing puzzles, colouring or even taking a nap. Make sure nap times are consistent and would not affect bedtime at night.
You can also include simple age-appropriate house chores such as washing their own cups or hanging/folding their own clothes.
If they are doing home-based learning (HBL), help them get organised and follow their school assigned time-table. For instance, teach them to set an alarm for logging on to their online meetings with their teachers. Keep in mind that their teachers may also check-in daily on their online homework submissions.
3. Communicate your schedule with your spouse and colleagues.
Try to work out a schedule with your spouse/family to take turns tending to young children or supervising their homework.
Check-in with your boss and colleagues from time to time and update them if you think there will be changes or interruptions to your calls/workday,
Notify your team ASAP if you or any of your family members are feeling unwell, especially if you have recently met them in person.
During online meetings, remember to mute your audio unless you are speaking.
4. Set realistic expectations of what you can accomplish.
Set and manage expectations early on with your team, managers and/or clients. Figure out your working hours, when you’ll be most available and how much you can get done.
Remember to schedule in time for breaks too. It could be simply time to get up and move around, taking a short rest from the computer screen and phone... or go check what your kids are (quietly) up to!
5. Be adaptable. Reach out for help or resources when needed.
As more families learn to work, study and play together all day in this "new normal", it helps to acknowledge we're all in this together and there will be times where things may not go as smoothly as we hope for.
Tension may also rise as a result of everyone staying cooped up at home all day. Where possible, have an outdoor activity for kids to expend their energy, or do a dance/fitness workout as a family.
Other practical tips include adapting your household tasks, boosting your immunity system, managing stress, practising self-care and compassion, etc. For instance, making simple sandwiches or cooking one-dish meals for lunch, ordering your groceries online, eating fruits daily or taking a Vitamin C supplement, journaling, etc.
Reach out if you or your loved ones need any help or counselling. Toll-free mental helplines are also available in many areas.
If you are facing emotional distress or considering therapy, feel free to schedule a free intro call with me today.
Good luck & stay safe and healthy!
Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general educational and marketing purposes. Any views expressed here are subjective and does not constitute medical advice. Please seek professional mental help or medical attention if you are facing overwhelming stress with thoughts of self-harm or harming others.
About the Author
Hi, I'm Janet Gay and I'm a counsellor based in Singapore. I offer individual life coaching and counselling services to students, adults and mothers. I have worked with clients looking for help in self-development, stress, self-esteem, anxiety, depression and relationship issues.
If you wish to talk to someone without feeling judged, gain new insights, overcome your challenges and live a more fulfilling life, get in touch with me today.