Working from home with children

Written by Jamie Hall

The past year has been a new learning experience for us all, whether it has been adjusting to working at home or being laid-off due the to the uncertain circumstances brought on by COVID-19. Some people feel like there isn’t enough time in a day or maybe feel exactly the opposite; perhaps there is too much free time and you find yourself searching for things to fill the void or waiting around until you can go back to your “normal” work habits.

For me, the adjustment has been learning to juggle working remotely from home and caring for my children, but also having to play teacher and help my child complete her assignments. Of course, there are the normal battles, like just trying to get your child to sit still that long, but also dealing with technology glitches, plus the back and forth communicating with teachers to assure that the work is completed correctly and on time.

One of the first things I found is that NOTHING goes to plan. Making a daily to-do list has been a big help for me. The list doesn’t have to be a long and extensive, just what needs to be finished before the end of day. This helps me feel like I am accomplishing something and keeps focus on those tasks, instead of thinking about tomorrow or the day after. Also, remember to take breaks, this will help you be more productive so you can refocus on the task when you return. Have your child take a break at the same time, a few minutes away from their work can give them the refresh they need. 

Keeping my daughter engaged in her work has also been a challenge. I find that removing any temptation is very helpful. There is no technology of any kind, until quality work is completed. After all her assignments are finished, she is able to enjoy the screen-time that she was craving, but with a time restraint. This hasn’t been an easy obstacle to overcome, but after making it the every-day routine she got used to the idea and it is now almost like a reward for finishing her work.

Another hurdle has been little-to-no adult conversation. Yes, I realize some people would like this, me not so much. I enjoy interacting with my co-workers and found it a huge shock to be suddenly stuck at home all day and not seeing or conversing with anyone over the age of 8. I call my friend a few days a week over lunch break just to chat about anything that comes to mind. Those few minutes have been key to my sanity. Friendship is a crucial element in our mental health and staying in contact with those special people can help you to remember that everyone is adjusting or dealing with something and that you can find comfort in each other.

The best advice is stay positive. The days when I became frustrated, I can see that it rubs off on my daughter. The happiness may feel forced at first but should pay off in the long run when everyone’s mood improves, and things begin to fall into place. Not every day will be a good day and that is okay. Don’t criticize or beat yourself up over the mistakes just try and learn from them.