Across the world, schools are rapidly closing their doors in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. While this is incredibly important for the health of our communities, working parents need to manage work and family demands.
Here are some tips on how to find perspective and a sense of balance as you prepare to work and parent within the confines of coronavirus self-isolation.
- Get creative with your schedule – If you have another adult home with you, consider a split schedule. My husband and I stagger work times during the day, and one of us works in the evening when the children were in bed. Whichever time slots you end up working, there will be an adjustment period as you retrain your mind to focus during your new “business” hours.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate – Even with the best-laid plans, your children will interrupt your work. They’ll scream just as you unmute during a conference call. They’ll bomb your video meetings. Or you may just need to take them outside for 30 minutes so they can burn off energy. Your coworkers will be more understanding about interruptions if you warn them ahead of time. And after all, you aren’t trying to game the system by working while watching your children—you’re making the best of an unprecedented situation, and you’ll probably have coworkers going through it with you.
- Stick to a routine – Maintaining a daily routine will help everyone stay occupied and manage some of the anxiety caused by this big change. Go ahead and write out a schedule and pin it to the wall or the refrigerator so kids can refer to it throughout the day.
- Let go of perfectionism – I am one of those people who hold themselves to high standards of performance at work and in the home. Consider this an opportunity to practice loosening your grip on these expectations. Maybe your children get a little more screen time than usual. Maybe your house is a mess behind you on camera during a video call. Look at this as a chance to re-evaluate what really matters and to let go of over-performing in less important areas.
- Try to make this time special – No one planned for this forced family time however I’m going to try to make the most of it. I think it is important to make the most of this time and make it special with the kids.
Juggling work and childcare is an intense but survivable experience. Many remote workers successfully navigate this reality every day. With a little bit of planning, lots of discussion, and an adaptable attitude, you’ll be able to better weather your coronavirus time at home with the kids.