For many of us, getting to work from home has been a blessing. We get to sleep in a little more, we have healthier food options, we don’t have to commute in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and best of all we get to see our children a lot more.
There are many benefits to working from home, but there can be a few obstacles as well. Being productive can be the biggest challenge of them all. How can we do it best?
If you are the sole caretaker of your young child(ren), working from home is going to be especially difficult…at least in the beginning. We have meetings, proposals, deadlines, and the like.
All of this is going on while our youngsters want to spend time with us, and perhaps they need help with their homework too. Getting it all done can be a juggling act.
Let’s outline a few practical steps that we can take to make things easier.
- Get Up Early – While we do have an extra 2 – 3 hours per day, resist the urge to sleep in. Having a few quiet hours early in the morning, before your little one gets up, can be a gamechanger. Make sure you get quality sleep by consistently going to bed on time. Avoid late-night television, as it may interfere with your body’s natural wake/sleep cycles.
- Set Boundaries with Family – Let family members know that chores, unessential activities, and other interruptions will have to wait until after work hours. Explain to your child(ren) that you have “homework” too, and you need to get yours done. Be sure to let them know what time you will likely get off work and what time you will be available to spend with them directly.
- Go Over Your Expectations – For smaller children, you may need to do this daily, as they will likely forget. Going over a small list of achievable expectations, first thing in the morning can help both of you stay on track.
- Map out Assignments – Younger school-aged children participating in virtual school will benefit greatly from having access to a clear checklist of things that need to get done. Conveniently write them down on a notepad. A checklist will also help you stay organized. You will know if your child has missed any assignments. Most importantly, remember to provide lots of praise and encouragement for a job well done.
- Post a Schedule – You can post their schedule on the wall so that they can easily see what activity they need to do next. Creating a set of good habits will facilitate a successful routine. Consistently knowing what to expect can bring comfort to your child and help them better acclimate from a bustling school setting to a more subdued home environment.
- Take Breaks When Possible – Do fun things like going to the park, getting out in nature, and playing dance music. Be sure to regularly engage in healthy activities. Short breaks that get you out of your chair will make the virtual office more bearable. Stretch and get your blood flowing. This will enable you to think more clearly and be more productive.
- Designated Workspaces – For the most optimal study and work conditions each person, both you and your child(ren), must have their very own dedicated workspace. If you wish to be more engaged with your child and you have the kind of job that can handle some interruption, consider having your desks close to one another. This way you can monitor your child’s progress as you complete your own work.
Looking ahead, this time at home can be of great benefit to your child. Being with you every day can teach them how to develop self-discipline, work ethic, and learn how to creatively overcome obstacles.
Which in turn, can benefit them in the future when they are ready to go into the job market themselves. With that said, it can be easy to get so involved in our work that we neglect other areas of our lives.
The important thing is to be patient and keep the bigger picture in mind. Family is our most precious treasure, let’s be sure to make sure we leave room for quality time together.
As parents it’s hard to describe the pride and bliss we feel when we are working from our laptop and glance down the dining table to behold our diligent child happily singing while writing and coloring for an assignment.
It’s small, shared moments like these, that make home life so enjoyable. Nothing makes us happier than when our kids are happy. Let’s look at 2021 as an opportunity to bond with, get closer to, and enjoy our families more.