Tips for working from home when you have children
Juggling a career when you have a little one can be a bit of a rollercoaster, there’s no other way to describe it. But this Covid-19 situation was a bit of a white-knuckle twist that no one expected…
It’s a challenging time, and everyone has had to change their outlook and routine pretty quickly to adapt to lockdown and school closures, juggling work and educating/entertaining our children. We’re all in the same boat and probably feeling the same way, ‘up the Clyde without a paddle’ to use a good old Glaswegian term!...Or are we?
What if we were to find moments of joy in this new set up rather than stressing about what we can’t control? Let’s face it, one person can’t maintain two jobs (your regular day job and this newfound teaching your children job) at the same time for very long without having to take on a different perspective. Being kind to ourselves in terms of our expectations and setting realistic goals will get us through this…that and the gin or the long hot bubble bath that you’ve promised yourself come 8pm.
After a few weeks, the TotsBots team that are able to work from home are slowly getting into a new routine. There have been tears and tantrums and non-stop bickering…and that’s mostly from the adults! But we’ve had a whip round and put together our top tips for being productive and staying sane while working from home and hope that it helps you find your way whilst we’re all living in lockdown.
Tip 1 - Be Prepared
We are all in agreement that preparing an outline of activities for the day makes things a bit easier and making the planning a fun activity in itself works too. Get out the colouring pens, paints and stickers and have a bit of fun with that. Get organised, pick out the books, dvd’s, games, jigsaws etc the night before and get the kids to join in, it creates a bit of excitement and something to look forward to for the next day. Making the packed lunches, (or individual snack boxes) the night before is a good idea too, most kids think it's fun having packed lunches at home; it saves you time having to decide what to make - especially if you are a bit harassed - and is less mess to clear up!
Tip 2 - The Early Bird
This tip will depend if you’re an early bird catches the worm kind of person, a night owl, or that permanently exhausted pigeon that’s talked about on social media! It’s a mix of bird species here at TotsBots, but being an early bird can actually set you in good stead for the day ahead as you can get some things ticked off your list before your kiddies even open their eyes and it puts you in a good mood. For those of you who can’t get working pre 9am as your children don’t quite know the meaning of a long lie, use this time to bond with them instead and start their first ‘activity’ of the day early before you sit down at your desk.
Tip 3 - Break it up
It may not be the norm for your day job, but a few of the team with smaller people have found that breaking the day into smaller chunks is actually easier to manage and allows us to be more productive. You just need to dismiss any feelings of guilt you have about taking an hour between meetings to paint rainbows and sing nursery rhymes. There is always some time to catch up when they’re asleep.
Tip 4 - Teamwork
Tag teaming was another popular recommendation for those of us who are working from home with partners who also have to get their work done too. Just be sure that this doesn’t cause you and your other half to come to a disagreement! If you’re solo parenting and you really need to do an important call, the best piece of advice is from our founder Fiona, homemade peanut butter lollipops! Give your child a spoonful of peanut butter (or something allergy friendly that takes ages to eat and isn’t a choking hazard!) and take yourself to another room (as long as they’re safe!). They’ll track you down eventually, but it will buy you 10 mins.
Tip 5 - Jump around
Little people do have a lot more energy than us parents, so finding ways to tire them out and burn off some of that pent-up energy will boost the mood and makes for a happier and more productive day for you too! If Joe Wickes isn’t your thing, stick on some tunes, get jiggling and giggling around and make memories that they’ll look back on fondly when this is all over. Strictly Come Dancing’s Oti Mabuse is doing a daily dance class at 11.30am on her Instagram. This week is movie week and there are some fab Disney soundtracks on the cards so you can have a little singalong too! If you’d rather get outside and have some space outdoors, you could use chalk to mark out an obstacle course with hopping, jumping and running to get their bodies moving and their brains whirring.
Tip 6 - Go with the Flow
It's really hard working from home with the kids in tow so don't be too hard on yourself if the day doesn't go to plan. Can you imagine what it would be like working in the office with the kids running around? Go with the flow if what you have planned goes to pot! These are not normal circumstances. Make the most of cherishing the little things that we normally miss out on while working in the office; the unexpected cuddles mid typing, the countless bits of artwork decorating our workspace, and the extra time our teens take to chat to us. We’ll miss it when this is over.
Tip 7 - Chill
Be mindful. You can do this with or without your little ones. Yoga is a great way to slow down and take a moment away from the constant to-do lists and you can access lots of yoga classes online. Our favourite is Cosmic Kids Yoga. Talking or writing about what we are grateful for each day keeps a positive mindset for kids and adults alike and encourages discussion around emotions which can be difficult for little people in general never mind during a time when everything has changed and they may be feeling overwhelmed.
And finally…remember we are all on a ball spinning through space, oh, and stay away from the biscuits!
Do you have any tips you'd like to share?