We serve over 180,000 parents, so we thought it would be a good idea to reach out to them to get some expert tips on how to manage the little ones during the quarantine.
And if you haven't, hop on and read a commentary piece by a parent when her child almost had the dreaded virus.
I was inundated with all the amazing tips and tricks shared by our parents from all over the world.
Working from home with children is difficult enough. Quarantined at home with them with nowhere to go brings an added complexity. Here are some tried and tested tips to assist you:
1. Keep calm.
Preparing emotionally is as important as making physical preparations.
Tensions are to be expected if family members are thrown into unfamiliar proximity for a prolonged period, so it helps to talk about conflict beforehand.
While some parents may have visions of themselves screaming at their offspring on Day 10 under lockdown, staying calm is possible - with planning.
They look to us, the adults to model how they should respond in the current pandemic and our words and actions, are powerful ways to provide this reassurance.
Keeping calm requires us to be aware of our own anxieties, restrictive beliefs and habitual behaviours that act as personal barriers to a sense of inner peace. Self-inquiry and reflection helps you to establish what these ideas and actions are.
2. Plan as a family.
Take into consideration that your children's lives are also disrupted during a quarantine.
You should start with an individual schedule of how the day would look and then sit down together to combine the schedule as a family. This gives you a good overview of what's going to happen and what to expect.
As working adults, it is important to discuss the workload with your spouse. For example, my wife takes the morning shift with the kids as I have compulsory morning meetings that I need to attend to. And I take the evening shift to prepare dinner because, as a food sales person, she needs to ensure orders from her clients are submitted at the end of the day.
I'm not going to lie - it's tough.
It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. Don't be afraid to adjust the schedule to fit the day's needs!
3. Set-up dedicated areas in the house.
Next, you would want to set up dedicated areas in the house.
- The main study room can be set aside as the adults working space since privacy may be required for meetings or calls. You could even put up a sign on the door to let everyone know you're on an important call. That said, it doesn't hurt to remind the kids before you're on a call that you're on a call.
- The dining room will be the dedicated the kids' study area. It'll be good to make sure all the necessary stationery and materials can be easily accessed.
- The kids bedroom will be used for scheduled nap times and the living room is used as the dedicated fun zone that can only be used during breaks or when the day ends.
- A snack and drinks corner can be set up in the kitchen. A good tip would be putting kid-safe glasses on a low shelf that they can reach, and teach your little ones how to help themselves.
4. Make it fun!
Structure is good, but make sure to not get too hung up on keeping to a minute-by-minute schedule. Bear in mind that both you and child are going through a big change together and that having fun is a way to get through it.
From the Most Helpful Helper to the Independent Play award, parents shared how they would gamify household chores and learning activities to encourage participation from their kids.
It’s going to happen and it’s often going to save your day. Be grateful for access to technology on such days.
No, I'm not referring to unlimited screen time. But rather, purposeful and curated screen time.
Take for example, Go Noodle, a platform that encourages families and children to stay active indoors through dance and meditation. They have short interactive activities that keeps kids engaged and motivated throughout the day.
Or you could also take a look at WhizKidScience. An educational YouTube channel by Aiden, a teenager who conducts fun science experiments with materials that can be found at home.
Some final thoughts
Be gentle with your kids and yourselves. No one is expecting you to have it all figured out.
Set aside for some personal time for you and your spouse. It could be reading, meditating or even just cracking a cold one.
Your mental wellness is important.
Frankly, there’s no one right way to get through this.
Internalize this quote that has been going around lately, “You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.”
Do what you can, to the very best of your ability!
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