How to telework if you have children at home
In recent years, the option of “telework” as is often called to work from home, is a possibility that more and more organizations adhere to either by choice or by obligation. Not everyone feels comfortable not having a workplace to go to, however, new technologies, keeping us permanently connected, have facilitated the implementation and development of this way of working. The benefits are multiple, as it provides great flexibility for both the company and the worker, facilitating the reconciliation of family life and productivity,with a positive impact on the level of stress, which is reduced accordingly.
In crises like the one we are experiencing right now, in which it is required to stay at home, many people have been forced to telework as the only possibility of continuing their work activity. The extraordinary thing here and the challenge to overcome is that those who have young children share a responsibility to remain productive with that of taking care of their family.
Teleworking with the children, impossible mission?
Working with your children at home can become quite an adventure and if not tell Robert Kelly, American professor of Political Science in South Korea, who suddenly became a celebrity by viralizing a video of him in which he appeared being interrupted by his children in full live connection while interviewed for the BBC.
Keeping your children busy, entertained and, above all, willing to leave roomto concentrate on activity other than paying them all your attention, is a challenge. Although the alternative of leaving the girl or child on her cell phone or standing in front of the TV all day is too tempting, it’s not the right thing to do and it’s not even an option if she’s under the age of three. Making the day productive requires a minimal dose of discipline and creativity, and I offer you some simple guidelines and tips that could help make the day the most enjoyable for everyone:
If working with your children at home is not the norm for you, it is advisable that at first you spend some time explaining the reasons for the new situation: why mom and/or dad have to stay at home, what will happen, how many days the situation will last and why they do not have to go to school or day care.
They may have a hard time understanding it at first, and they too may miss going outside or sharing games with their friends. Crafting stories or games can help you craft an adapted message.
- Follow routines.
Wearing, dressing (even in comfortable clothes but not being wearing pajamas all day), having breakfast, meeting in assembly, ventilating the house or organizing toys before going to sleep, are all routines that allow us to maintain order and encourage discipline.
It is advisable to remember the day we are. Doesn’t it happen to you that when you’re on vacation, you end up getting the feeling that you forget the day you’re on? Not living bound to an agenda can cause us to lose the notion of time.
I personally love Montessori calendars as they are an exercise we can use to stay connected and help our children maintain a temporary reference:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Along with food and physical activity, it is necessary to pay attention to breaks. If we are going to spend many hours at home, it is recommended that we do not have too many unhealthy foods at home such as processed or products with high proportion in sugar, because, being so many hours at home we can get carried away more easily by temptation. It is advisable to consume as much as possible, healthy foods that maintain our constant energy level.
Let’s take breaks to stretch our legs and do a moderate physical exercise, we can even organize it in the form of a game and that children also participate, what you care about is moving and staying active.
Our tiredness makes it harder to maintain control over our emotions. If we are tired or moody, we will pass on our mood to our children, there will be a better chance of a conflict and it will be much more difficult for us to take advantage of time properly. Therefore, it is important that we respect our sleep hours and breaks to maintain a good level of energy that helps us to cope with the day.
- Identify the workspace.
Ideally, of course, it is to have a separate place where you can keep enough concentration, where you can close the door put us quietly, but this is not always possible. Housing may not be large enough or children may need constant supervision. If so, then the ideal is to keep the job always in the same place, separating it from its play area, explaining our activity, perhaps letting them feed their curiosity for a while and in this way we will make it easier for them to “respect” it.
- Adapt schedules.
One way to optimize our time is to take advantage of the hours when children sleep. It is possible that in the afternoon we are already very tired to get to work, if not, I encourage you to do so if you are one of those who find concentration and maximum productivity in the last hours of the day. However, if you’re effortless to get out of bed, you can go ahead of the alarm clock and take advantage of the early hours of the day when kids are still asleep to give your projects a boost before the common activity begins.
If possible, set shifts with your partner so that at least one can change activity.
- Plan the day.
For this point it is important that you involve the children so that they too can participate in the planning. After breakfast, an assembly can be organized in which all family members choose the activities to be performed during the day. It is not necessarily a free choice, two options can be offered for children to choose the one they prefer.
Activities are recorded on a whiteboard or cardboard, providing visual elements such as drawings or photographs, so that children can follow them.
It’s important to include some special activity, some new experience that helps kids maintain attention and stimulate their creativity.
As for your workday, plan it by identifying the priorities of the day. Don’t get too self-extracted and be aware that the situation can be complicated for everyone, try as much as possible to make the most of family time.
At the end of the day, a small ritual of celebration or gratitude can be performed to help them enhance their autonomy and motivation.
- Stay in touch socially.
Despite being at home and having limited their movements to the street, it is important that children keep in touch with the outside world,which can be a great ally to give us some of the space we require to be able to work TV.
New technologies and socially related facilities are a great opportunity to foster contact with other children or other family members: an online storytelling session or even a snack with family or friends at school or day care on Skype can help us reconcile work and family life when we telework and maintain high morale.
What do you think of teleworking with kids? What other tips can you provide?