How to cope: Working from home with your children this summer
After more than two months of juggling working from home with home schooling, parents are set to have their children at home for even longer as schools prepare a phased reopening with social distancing in place.
Only one in four children can return to school at the beginning of June and many parents are keeping their children at home as they do not feel comfortable sending them back during the coronavirus crisis. With reduced class sizes and the possibility of reduced staff, some children in Sussex may not be attending full time any time soon. Sending the youngsters to grandparents is still against the government guidance and therefore working from home with the children seems to be here to stay for a while.
Jonathan Ratcliffe from Brighton Office Provider said: “We thought that the schools reopening around June 1 would give us some breathing space from what has been a very stressful period, however only one of our kids can go back, and even then its for at most two days a week.
“Home schooling is one of the hardest things we have done as parents. The expectation and the stress, and at the same time we are trying to hold down jobs – it’s a nightmare scenario.”
Jonathan says the most important thing is to plan and said: “You are going to have to plan well, get organised and work to a strict timetable if you want to get everything done. Equally, you will need to have a proper split between work, school, fun and rest.
“The first thing you need to do is lower your expectations of what you are going to achieve, both with work and schooling. If you try to do too much the experience is going to be highly stressful – there is an end to this, but it may well be September now.”
Jonathan says home workers with children need to lower their expectations of what they will achieve with work and communicate the problem clearly with their boss. He says it is best to try and simplify your day into a set routine but do not try and achieve too much. Most importantly, Jonathan tells us to pause and try and appreciate moments with your children too.
Here are top ten tips on how to survive lockdown with your kids:
Start early at the same time each day: Routine is important for good sleep and mental health, for both you and your kids. School starts at a set time, so make sure you are ready and stick to the timetable.
Get dressed properly: Getting showered and dressed is important to divide sleep and school.
Create spaces for different activities: You might set up a teaching room (kitchen), quiet room (spare bedroom) and a play area (living room)
Structure you day like a school day: Teaching time, activity time, play time and lunch time – just like their normal school routine
Make a plan with your kids: At the start of the day ask them what they want to do (within reason) so they feel involved
Turn off your phone: How are your kids meant to feel involved if you are checking emails?
Set aside breaks for television, tablets and exercise: Use these times to schedule work emails or calls
Take exercise: Depending on where you live, if you have a garden or not – try and get some fresh air, this also allows you some headspace
Finish at a set time and stick to a set bedtime: By getting a routine drilled in early on, you can try and get the kids to sleep at a sensible time, thereby giving yourself some space to work if you need to
Don’t be tempted to hit the wine: If you can, evening time will be the only real time you can realistically work. If you drink your concentration will be poor, sleep poor and you’ll wake in a grumpy mood. Try and keep drinking to a minimum.
Jonathan adds: “It’s important to face facts – school isn’t going to be running as normal in Brighton until September, and so those of us working from home until then must get a plan together to cope with this extended length of home schooling and home working – it’s not an easy time!”