Coronavirus and Working From Home: How to Keep the Kids Busy
By Catherine Tansey
Balancing work responsibilities with the demands of a full time job is inherently challenging. But with COVID-19 forcing school and childcare facility closures, you may find yourself suddenly forced to keep the kids entertained while fulfilling the responsibilities of your (newly) remote job. Here are our tips for a successful WFH day when the kids are there too.
Wake up early
Work-life balance is vital to a healthy, productive life. But when you’re juggling kids at home with tight deadlines, conference calls, and project work, you need all the focused time you can get. It may seem like there is no empty time in the day, but if you can swing it, get up a bit earlier than usual to get in some focused work time before the morning madness kicks in.
Create a routine
Routines are good for everyone and especially helpful at a time when normal schedules are upended. Smooth the adjustment to home-quarantine by creating a routine and sticking to it. For the most seamless day, decide the night before on the day’s activities, what the kids will eat for breakfast, and who’s in charge of snacks in between. Check out our sample routine below.
Make an agreement
If your kids are old enough, have them help create the routine and assign responsibilities. Then formalize the agreement by having your child sign on the dotted line. This action helps them buy into the plan and gives them a sense of accountability throughout the day. It also provides an opportunity to teach them about contracts and the importance of reading before signing – a great life skill!
Plan an educational activity for the morning
Schools may be closed but learning opportunities are everywhere. If your child’s school has assigned class work, the morning can be a good time for everyone to settle and focus on knocking off some items on the To Do list. Also consider tapping into a host of eLearning programs or activities to structure the kids’ morning so you have some time to concentrate on work. Sites like Scholastic Learn at Home offers “day-by-day projects to keep the kids learning, reading, and growing.”
Other educational resources include:
- Khan Academy Kids: Free educational lessons for kids ages 2-7
- Brain Pop: Available for free during school closures
- Tynker: Helps kids ages 5 and older learn to code
Organize a physical activity for the afternoon
We need exercise more than ever to combat with the stress of being cooped up at home. Have the kids move their bodies to burn off extra energy and reduce stress and anxiety. Check out the kids version of the popular 7-Minute Workout for high-intensity exercise, or head over to the Cosmic Kids Yoga channel on YouTube for more mindful movement.
Other physical activity resources include:
- Go Noodle: Combines mindfulness and movement for kids
- Yoga with Adrienne: Great yoga resource for older kids, teenagers, and adults
Plan a virtual play date
Coordinate with other working parents for a virtual playdate. Take turns guiding an online learning activity or monitoring the kids while the other parent gets an hour or two of dedicated work time.
[Plan meals and activities the night before.]
- A brain-intensive, learning activity for the kids
- Morning snack, like fruit, nuts, or vegetables and hummus
- Another learning-focused task, such as 20 minutes on the language learning app Duolingo
- Physical activity
- Snack + rest time
If COVID-19 has suddenly turned your college-aged kids into remote students with extra time on their hands, share with them this blog on How to Land Your First Job After College. If they are contemplating military service, inspire them with this article on Why Hiring a Veteran Makes Good Business Sense.
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