Due to the coronavirus outbreak that has recently swept the nation, parents everywhere have had to make changes in their daily lives in order to adjust to the new normal. School and office closures have shaken up daily routines and created unfamiliar territory for parents and their children. Having to make one major adjustment is tough, but when there are multiple that need to happen in one household it can feel overwhelming. Incorporating some of these tips into your daily routine, as social distancing guidelines and restrictions continue to expand, can help ease pressure and create a calmer environment in your home and work life.
Have an Open and Honest Communicative Style
Whether it’s in your home with your loved ones or with your coworkers, now more than ever is a time to be as honest and open as you can with those around you. If communication methods no longer work as effectively as they did in your office, communicate to your team that you’ll need to change it during the work-from-home period. Switch from phone calls to email or from email to instant messaging. It’s important to be honest with yourself and those around you about how you’re adjusting during this transition and could help inspire other coworkers to openly communicate as well.
Create a Routine
Daily routines are what help us function throughout the week. Everyday you have an idea of what you do and when you do it. If this has been a problem in your home for you or your loved ones, try some of these tricks. Have everyone create a schedule. This will help guide everyone in the home of what their day typically looks like. You’ll know who is doing what during work or school hours and can help alleviate any interruptions throughout the day. You can hang them on a bulletin board, a fridge, or just have them shared electronically. If you have a younger child, get them on a new schedule that works for you. If it means adjusting their nap, lunch, or bedtime, try it! If they have school work, create a “two hours on, one hour off” approach to help prevent burnout. Need some inspiration? Check out this example from work-from-home parent, Homes.com’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Kristen Rowland.
Rowland also suggests starting each day with some sort of physical activity. “Create a “commute” in the morning. Get the kids out of bed and ready for the day, then take a walk around the block,” she says. “A little activity in the morning can help jumpstart your mind and get you ready to tackle anything.”
Stay Engaged and Have Fun
One of the hardest parts about this transition is feeling lost when it comes to entertaining your kids at home and having them stay focused on school work when it feels like a formality. Turn learning activities into a “game” with a reward at the end, or create different experiments to try throughout the week together. Younger children can feed off of your energy and interest, so it’s just as important that you stay engaged as well. Gardening and cooking can be a fun way to learn about science, incorporate math into an arts-and-crafts project, get creative!
Embrace the Chaos
Always remember that not everything will go according to plan and not every day will be a good one. Bad days happen to everyone and parenting can be tough, especially when you have a handful of new roles to juggle. When the bad days happen and chaos arises, remember to breathe. Communicate with your partner, help out in areas you normally wouldn’t, and remember to keep an open mind.