#SafeAtHome | OUR 5 TOP TIPS : PARENTS WORKING FROM HOME
Working from home is a great way to carry on as you would every day and ensure you're keeping on top of your duties as an employee. Those lucky enough to be able to do their job from home enjoy a number of different advantages, such as more time doing work or additional tasks in lieu of long commutes.
For parents with school age children, young dependents and older relatives they're caring for, working from home can be challenging. With this is mind, we give you our top tips on how to remain productive, positive and use time wisely whilst working from home and juggling childcare duties.
1. ROUTINE & STRUCTURE
Start your week by creating a relaxed timetable for the family. This could be drawn up on a computer and printed off or written on a large whiteboard in the family kitchen.
Use your time wisely - a good tip is to spread your week acrosss the full seven days, rather than the normal 9-5 Monday to Friday. Don't sit them next to you and expect they will work in silence as you do your work. Allow yourself some time to switch off from your job when they do their schoolwork, so you can assist them or take some down-time.
If there’s more than one adult in the house, take turns in working and doing activities with the children. Use the weekends when you’re not working to dedicate time to help with homework. Younger children cope better with structure - use words like “now” and “next” so they have a sense of time passing. eg, "We’re going to have drawing time now, and next we will set up sensory play" Drawing time might buy you 15 uninterrupted minutes to work before you set up sensory play.
2. PLAN MEAL TIMES
Ensure that during your busy work schedule you take time out to eat properly. Consider making a larger than usual portion of food so that one big meal lasts for two days - this way, you're not spending every day balancing work, school work with the children and cooking a big meal for the family (not to mention the constant cleaning and clearing away of plates and cutlery). On your planner, set out clear times when you come together to eat meals and stick to them. If you have a big family, make it clear that everyone will be fed at the same time to avoid snacking throughout the day and to prevent children asking for food when you're in the middle of working. Making some healthy snacks that you can leave out on the side and they can help themselves to is a saving grace for all.
3. RECOGNISE THE IMPORTANCE OF DOWNTIME
We can all get carried away with the amount of time spent working online if our job entails working on a laptop or computer. Regular breaks can save time in the long run - if you're sat at your home desk all day, it's a big ask to expect children won't keep disturbing your flow. If you have access to outside space, try to get outside with the children on your breaks. Go out into the garden or walk round the block for your designated time of daily exercise. Play games that include nature such as counting the trees or clouds. When they come back, ask them to write a diary or draw what they saw. Stay in touch with elderly relatives by Skype as an advantage to all - encourage their imagination by tasking children to write them stories, or practice their handwriting by posting them letters and cards.
- Though you may be someone who usually limits screen time, be more flexible with this and include some educational content.
- Remember - this can be an unsettling time for little worrying minds - let them look back on this experience as a fond part of their childhood. Little things such as relaxing strict bedtime curfews, allowing them to move the furniture around in the living room to make a den, allowing them to eat a piece of cake for breakfast. It’s these little things that will create the best memories for years to come and if the children are feeling happy and relaxed, you will too and you'll both be more productive as a result.
5. THE POWER OF POSITIVITY
Try to see this time spent at home with the family as a positive thing. With the stress and strains of everyday life, things can become rather overwhelming when you're trying to balance a job, home and family. Every day, try to think of something you're happy for - it could be something simple such as the sunshine outside or something related to you being able to work from the comfort of your own home. Whilst you're enjoying your early morning coffee, think about how you could be stood on the platform waiting for your over crowded commuter train, or sat in traffic on the school run. Take this time to re-evaluate your current routine - are there things you're doing now that work for your family that you can continue doing moving forward - i.e. working a day from home or moving home work time in the evenings to the weekends? Every day, as a family - for example, when you're sat around the dinner table - have a discussion about what you're thankful for and talk about something positive that has happened that day.
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