Working From Home: The Lockdown Survival Guide for Families
How can we create a productive space for the whole family to work from home? Maintaining your child’s education, your ability to be productive in the workforce and your family’s financial stability has never been so challenging.
Many more parents are working from home alongside their children. Quirky Kid has developed our Top 5 Tips to help families prepare, adapt and conquer working and studying from home together.
Tip #1: Plan a daily schedule together
Routines are essential for children’s growth, development, and sense of normality. To help with creating healthy routines, each night, sit as a family and map out a schedule for the following day (and support all family members to stick to it!). We prepared a quick fun video to help you create a visual schedule that actually works.
Include tasks for the whole family and allow all family members to contribute ideas to the schedule. Use visual images and/or colours to make the scheduled fun and accessible. For two-parent households, alternating ‘work shifts’ may be helpful.
Tip # 2: Include varied activities in the family’s day
To make the most of focus and motivation while working from home together, start the day with cognitive stimulation. This will help siblings get along and adults to be more patient. Some ways of doing this include:
- Complete academic activities first: Adults and children are more able to sustain effort and achieve desired outcomes earlier in the day. Parents may need to work before dawn to meet deadlines before children wake up. It may also be helpful to speak with your child’s teacher to access more online learning options. Check-in with your young person every 10-15 minutes, depending on their attention span, to praise their ability to work independently.
- Find fun ways to teach new concepts: YouTube science tutorials are a great way to inspire young scientists to conduct experiments at home. Baking is another way to teach children about measurement and timing. Folding paper planes and using a tape measure to record their top 10 distances is also useful to develop fine motor skills. There are many more examples.
- Get Physical: For younger children, combine your child’s interest in Pokemon, Spiderman or Mermaids with a themed yoga class. These classes are free and go for 15 to 25 minutes.
- Keep Social: Support all family members to remain connected with each other and the outside world. Family mealtimes and scheduled breaks are an opportunity to take part in a video call to grandparents or school friends. If social skills need refreshing, Quirky Kid is offering The Best of Friends and Basecamp program online. Sign up here.
- Plan ahead: Parents need time alone too! Make a “Do Not Disturb” sign and explain the rules and reasons for this boundary in advance. Rewards for respecting boundaries are recommended. Think fun family activity over food rewards.
Tip #3: Proactively manage conflict.
With family members in such close proximity, conflicts may arise.
- Create a calm zone under a table or inside a cupboard with quiet music, pillows and a picture book. Your young person might like to make their own cozy space behind a lounge or up a tree. Encourage creativity and a Plan B for wet weather.
- To reduce sibling rivalry, create separate workstations featuring a long-term project for each individual, such as a complex puzzle, Lego build or similar.
- Quirky Kid recently published Siblings - a book about appreciating all our brothers or sisters have to offer.
Tip #4: Have a definite start and end to the workday!
To reward your child for their focus throughout the day, try to end your workday at the same time as they end their school day. This will prevent children from feeling frustrated by parents who continue to work when they’re ready to play. Pushing back on your work commitments may be required for the good of your own mental health.
Suggesting alternative work hours, such as 1-9 pm, may suit your situation better and your workplace may be more accommodating than your children.
Tip #5: Support the emotional needs of the whole family
During these periods of uncertainty, supporting the emotional needs of the whole family is important to ensure everyone continues to thrive. To help support your child:
- Take care of your own mental health! Children are highly perceptive to the emotional states of their parents.
- Open the lines of communication, and allow them to speak about their concerns. Here’s a resource to help.
- Some children may find it difficult to articulate how they are feeling. Play-based activities such as ‘messy play’ (eg; slime, playdough, water-play) and art tasks (eg; drawing and painting) may help children express themselves and process how they are feeling. For more information on the power of play, see this podcast.
- If you would like further advice about how to support your child during this difficult time, our team at Quirky Kid has well-established telehealth options for our clients during social distancing and isolation. To schedule an appointment with one of our friendly psychologists, go to our website, or to find out more please contact the QK reception on 02 9362 9297.
We are here to help you. Join our weekly Lunch & Learn on supporting children's wellbeing during COVID-19 session for parents with our psychologist.