As schools close this Friday and we're encouraged to ' work from home where possible' parents across the UK will be wondering how on earth to manage work and parenting demands. As a team with 6 kids amongst us we've put together some tips for coping and some ideas for keeping the kids entertained!
It's time to be frank. Your kids are at home and your employer knows this, as a result they can't expect calls or your work to be interruption free. Have conversations upfront about how your schedule is likely to change. It's equally important to talk to your kids if they are old enough to understand about the fact that you need to complete work, things will likely feel very different to them but help them to understand that you are still working and keep things as 'normal' as possible.
This doesn't need to be too rigid but it's a good idea to try and work out how the days will be structured now, most parents are expected to deliver some home learning for their children so balancing this alongside doing your job, running the home and ensuring no one goes stir crazy will take some planning. We've shared some resources below that you may find useful when planning out your day.
So, the kids might not be able to go and see Grandma & Grandad but if you're in a position to use things like FaceTime or other video calling then absolutely do it! There's not much these days that can't be done online, so if you need Grandma to read a bedtime story or just watch Star Wars for a bit with the kids, it's possible! and if your kids are older help them make the most of the tech you have to stay connected to school friends and chat online or play games online.
Whether your little ones are very small or a bit older, there are things that require minimal supervision, nap time is a great one for catching up on work or home responsibilities, whilst jumperoo or baby swings are also great for keeping baby safe and entertained. For older children puzzles and games, creative play and things like LEGO building and other construction toys all require minimal supervision.
Consider working in shifts with your partner so someone is free to care for the children whilst the other works. What are your pressure points during the day? Do you have a regular call or task that you need to fully focus on? then plan this into the day and be clear that you need the other person to take responsibility during this time. Think about changing the times when you work, for example are the kids always watching TV from 6pm to 7pm? it might be outside of your normal working hours but it could be a time where you're able to be productive.
Seriously don't. Stock up on those box sets for yourself and the kids. Disney Plus couldn't be released at a better time! the next few weeks are going to be a learning curve for all parents and so if your child ends up watching Kinder Egg unboxing for an hour on YouTube - don't worry about it.