When the news came that schools and colleges were closing, thousands of working parents found themselves facing the reality of working from home and entertaining the kids, all at the same time!
To make matters worse, parents conference calling and using the internet means that there isn’t enough broadband to go around, so putting the kids in front of Netflix for an hour might not even be an option for many.
So, here are our top tips that you could use to keep young children occupied, without using technology of any kind, while you try to get at least some work done.
1) Explain to the children what is going on, and that you are working at home and how important that is. Tell them there will be time during the day for fun and activities as well as quieter time. Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them, including you.
2) Plan out the day in 30 – 45-minute blocks of activities around your work day. If you have a conference call to take at a certain time, plan that in with a DVD that you know will keep them quiet for a while.
3) Be super organised about what you need to get done. Plan your day the night before and prioritise your tasks so that any time you get to focus on work is spent working and not wondering what to do first.
4) Allow yourself a break from work to set children going with an activity, you might feel that you are wasting valuable work-time but it will give you longer without interruptions in the long run.
5) Go for an early morning walk or run, fresh air and exercise will help tire them out and make you feel more alert.
6) Think about the best place to set up your work area and have it close enough to keep an eye on what’s going on from a different room.
7) Have a reward system that so children can work towards a treat at the end of the day. Let them create their own chart as an activity.
8) Get some fresh air together at lunchtime, the break will do everyone good.
9) Plan some activities your child will enjoy. Here are 20 ideas of simple, free activities children could be getting on with, hopefully without your supervision;
- Den/Tent Making with sheets, blankets and cushions
- Let them set up a teddy bears picnic ready for you to join them at lunch time
- Giant cardboard boxes make great dens, cut out some windows and let the children decorate them with felt pens or paint
- Set a lego challenge – what is the longest bridge they can build, the highest tower etc.
- Buy ready-made cake mix and turn them into fairy cakes in the morning as an activity and let the children decorate them in the afternoon
- Listen to story CD’s or watch a DVD – share these around with friends
- Dig out some jigsaws they can get on with on their own
- Creating a scene from a favorite story in a box
- Play dough modelling
- Create a marble run using cardboard tubes
- Sew a re-usable shopping bag or cushion with some old material or pillowcases
- Creating an indoor obstacle challenge
- Get a selection of their favourite books to look at or read with a snack
- Cutting and sticking collages with pictures from magazines
- Colour in or paint pasta shapes and thread them on a string to make jewelry or decorations
- Paper airplane making and flying
- Junk modelling with old boxes or cartons – make a spaceship, car or castle challenge
- Draw round the outline of the child’s body on a giant piece of paper (lining paper works well) and let them draw and colour in their clothes and face.
- Colour or letter challenge: Choose a letter and the children have to go around the house and write down 10 things that begin with that letter
- Write out the alphabet on a large piece of paper and pick a theme such as countries or animals and the children have to write down one beginning with each letter
- Try and stay calm and be kind to yourself. You are probably not going to get as much work done as if you were in the office but try not to beat yourself up too much about it. Working at home with the kids has never been easy, at least this time we are all in it together!
Tips for Staying Focused While Working From Home
Working from home has quickly become a reality for many of us, but how do you knuckle down when you’ve got household chores, kids and Netflix all vying for your attention? The key (in the short term at least) is to try and mimic the habits you had in the office. So get dressed, be at your new desk for 9am and follow our tips for staying focused during this crazy time!
- Be Organised
Spend some time planning your work day with mentally demanding, focused jobs in the morning when we’re generally sharper and more relaxed creative ones in the afternoon when our brains have let their guard down. Drop these tasks into a daily to-do list and tick off jobs as you complete them. Not knowing what job to tackle next is one of the main reasons people lose focus when working from home.
- Control Social Media
If you’re anything like us, working from home generally means lots more group chats! These can be really distracting, particularly if they are not work related so try and mute the friendship group ones until you have a bit of quiet time to catch up.
- Create a dedicated workspace
We mentioned before about mimicking habits you had in work, and this is quite important here. Try and create an ‘office space’ – whether it be in a dedicated room, or in a corner of the bedroom; having a space which you can ‘close the door’ on at the end of the day is important for our sense of being in ‘work-mode’ and for being able to switch off when the work day is done.
- Finally, stay in touch
Daily check-ins are great for planning out your day but also for reminding you that you are part of a team, working together to achieve a common goal. We can sometimes lose sense of that while isolated, and knowing others are relying on you certainly helps with knuckling down!
Working from Home Essentials – https://www.huntoffice.ie/remote-working-essentials.html