Going through a process of routine change is difficult for any adult and even more so if we add the stress that the media surrounds with the whole issue related to COVID-19. But there is a population with a particular challenge, trying to work – with children in their homes. These beings with inexhaustible energy and insatiable appetite can transform a normal work day into an extremely exhausting one. Add to that our new role of parent-teacher exposing ourselves through a learning process of how to communicate and explain concepts effectively. Surely there must be many parents who strike a balance between work and children, but how do they do it? Here I will mention some techniques that I have tried with my elementary school age daughter and some that I have heard that have been successful with boys of other ages.
Something I’ve learned is that doing academic work in the morning is more productive for both parents and kids. Take advantage of the fact that the focus of the little ones tends to be better to complete an extremely important part that requires all your attention before starting your workday. It should be completed on a table preferably the size of the student, if you do not have it you can raise the seat so that the little ones can complete their work comfortably and free of distractions. Observe how they better retain or understand concepts, take advantage of not being in a group environment to exploit the learning method of their children.
For the rest of the day we can make some arrangements to ensure that our children are entertained, and in the case of the little ones, free from danger. For toddlers, set up a large, risk-free area for them with toys and perhaps low music if their work permits. They can place a table in this area set up for you to do your work while watching over you. Additionally, putting together a station of necessities at your immediate reach, such as diapers, cleaning cloths, and snacks is extremely convenient. If your work role has flexibility, you can create this outdoor area to have the space and thus vary the location so that the little one does not get bored of their environment and take advantage of the absorption of vitamin D.
In the case of older children, understood in elementary school ages and upwards it is a little easier in terms of risk management at home, but it has a completely different category of challenges. With so much accessible technology that children have today, it is easy to fall into the habit of connecting all day on a device, for this reason it is important to prepare a series of activities that they can do from home. For example, my daughter loves to paint and during this quarantine period I allowed her to fill the walls with her art. I confess that my home looks like a preschool, but she has taken it seriously and is improving motor skills while developing her creativity. Other goals they may have with older children can be mastery of an instrument with the help of free instructional videos, learning a new language, introducing them to creating crafts; like sewing or knitting, or perhaps practicing culinary arts.
This situation is out of our normality, but it is not impossible to transform it into one with positive results. Let’s keep in mind that this is our opportunity to spend more time with our people, discover and develop new talents. Even in this period of isolation we can achieve the balance between work and our roles as fathers and mothers, but as in everything in life, practice will make perfect.