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Monday, April 6, 2020

Parenting While Working From Home

Picture this: You’re working from home and on a video conference call with the three C-suite executives at your company. Your agenda item comes up and it’s your turn to present. As soon as you go off mute, your child (who has been sitting on your lap for the duration of the call because she refuses to be anywhere else) begins screaming at the top of her lungs for no particular reason, except that she can. This has been my life during the COVID-19 self-isolation period. Luckily, I am privileged to work for a boss who is deeply understanding, and a company offering the flexibility that most do not.

Transitioning to working from home with kids presents a set of challenges that many parents are facing right now. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:

  • First and foremost, be patient and compassionate with yourself. Your daily routine and life has changed, and you're now doing two full-time jobs. It’s okay if everything doesn’t get done.
  • Focus on your kids’ mental health over their academic health. This change is as hard on the kids, as it is on us. They miss their school, their friends, and their everyday routine. Allow them to do the things that bring them happiness and joy, like frequent playtime and video chats with their friends. We all need human connection.
  • Ask your job for flex-hours. Being able to sign off and on throughout the day, including off-hours, allows you to better manage your workload.
  • If possible, structure the kids’ day similarly to their school day. Maintain recess, snack, and learning times at the same time every day. Predictability and structure comforts them.

Check out these lists of resources by highly-rated charities:

  • Action for Healthy Kids (★★★☆), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting nutrition and physical activity for children, provides a list of resources on transitioning to learning from home, including exploratory play, nutrition, and resources on COVID-19. Check it out here.
  • Prevent Child Abuse America (★★★★), another children’s nonprofit organization, has published an excellent list of resources and tips on adjusting to COVID-19 changes.

A lot has changed for families across the country at this time. Working from home with kids is not easy. Be patient with yourself, maintain a connection with loved ones, and look to highly-rated nonprofits who are there to support you with resources that might help make it easier.

Written by Nancy Sadek, Director of Finance & Operations at Charity Navigator


Chris Stanley said...

Thank you!

Katleen Garcia said...

For school-aged kids, explain to them prior to the call that you aren’t to be disturbed and give the option of writing notes in an emergency. For younger ones, scheduling calls over nap time or screen time can mean you have some quiet.