“Today I had to pop-in a pill while juggling work and my kids at home”, read a social media post of a 40-year-old mom who is currently working-from-home during the current COVID- 19 pandemic.
With the schools closed, a sound plan to keep the children engaged indoors is the need of the hour. But how can you achieve this work-life balance, without affecting your work priorities or compromising on your child’s development?
By now, you may be running out of ideas of how to keep your children happily occupied during work hours. This is why we have compiled some smart hacks that can help you during these unprecedented, chaotic and confusing times.
Scheduling the Suitable Playtime
Identify the hours when your workload peaks, your productivity is optimal, or when you cannot afford distractions. Let these hours be the prime playtime for your kids. Keep aside some of their favourite toys and games to be exclusively used during these hours. Consider setting up a dedicated play area with a variety of engaging playtime apparatus.
Ensure that the play area is hygienic and safe for your kid to plays alone there. You can also set up a webcam for remote supervision.
Enroll in Online Activity Classes
Take time and try to understand the interest and hobbies of your kids. Accordingly, you can enrol them in different activity e-classes such as General Knowledge, Art and Craft, music classes, etc. Give them a specific fun task to do to based on what they have learnt in the activity class. This will help to channelise their energy while doing something creative and productive. You can also subscribe to an audio app for children like Audible, where children stories are shared in a fun and engaging way. They can even dance to their favourite songs or take up physical activity e-classes to keep their bodies active.
Help your child pick a hobby in which he/she is genuinely interested.
Setup a Creative Space at Home
Consider setting up a creative space for your kids with lots of craft supplies such as paper sheets, glue, tapes, kid-friendly scissors, glitter, craft kits, etc. Encourage your kid to create something new every day using those supplies. The task may be to create a simple cutout or anything of his/her choice. You could also place puzzles or other challenging games in that space.
Prepare a list of art and craft, or other indoor activities for the day or the entire week in advance.
Use of Technology
You may sometimes allow them to play video games or watch their favourite shows or movies. Though this should not be encouraged for longer durations; letting them indulge in technology can provide respite to the parents during such crucial times. For instance, if there an unplanned conference meeting comes up, you can count on gadgets to engage your kids.
While playdates are out of questions, kids can have an online party where they can interact with their friends through a video conference call.
Don’t forget to set up parental lock when handing them the gadgets. Make sure that you use sites and apps that are safe for children to use.
Take Turns to Help
It takes a village to raise a kid. In the current times, while practising social isolation, you can share the load with your spouse or the other family members. While you remain busy with work, your spouse or other young and healthy family members can also engage the kid indoors.
If you have an elderly at home, make sure their health and hygiene are not compromised.
A Few Tips For You
While these ideas can help you keep your kids occupied during your working hours, below tips can also help you in making the work-from-home setup run smoothly:
Spend some quality time with kids each day, preferably before starting your work. Cuddle up, tell stories and play with them without any distractions. By doing this, kids will not crave much for your company and will happily play later on.
Plan your important tasks during your child’s nap timings. Generally, kid’s nap timings remain consistent, and hence you can plan your crucial calls/meetings during that time.
Make sure that your kids have a proper schedule during weekdays. This schedule can be relaxed on weekends or non-working days. You can even encourage them to create their own weekly plan.
Proper and regular communication with kids can help them in understanding what is expected out of them during your work hours.
Keep your workstation at an isolated space so that the kids can distinguish it from their playing area. Also, they should understand that it is a restricted zone, especially when their mom or dad is busy with work.
Encourage them to play independently. Train your children to be independent so that they are not always looking for you or someone else to accompany them at all times. This will make them confident and will also allow you to focus better on work.
Take regular breaks from work for a quick play or conversation. Throw in a few surprise hugs in-between work breaks. A little bit of affection goes a long way in building your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
Know Your Child and Plan Accordingly
While technology has made it easier for professionals to work-from-home during the nationwide lockdown, managing kids along with work can be a tough task for ‘Stay At Home’ parents. On the bright side, working from home in the company of your kids can be an excellent opportunity for you to connect with your child.
Focus on quality rather than quantity when it comes to spending time with our child. With clear communication and understanding, plan his/her activities for the day or the week. Apart from these things, making your child feel loved is the key.
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