Working from home and trying to look after the kids even if this is something you do anyway can be a challenge. Heres a few tips:
Make a list tonight of what’s on the agenda for tomorrow, keep it flexible but be sure to prioritise those important tasks into a time slot that you know you will manage to stick to.
Consider your current circumstance and be realistic, for example, if you need a quiet hour to complete a certain task, make sure the kids will be tasked with something they are concentrating on, in bed asleep, or that it doesn’t conflict with the release of the next episode of something you know you will be tempted to watch!
Where possible, try to maintain and run your structured day of tasks as if you were going out to work.
If you have children, involve them by asking them to make a list of what they will be doing tomorrow (or what they would like to do), this will make them feel involved and important and will also give you a chance to review the reality of what your timetable can and will look lie tomorrow and what extra expectations you may need to manage. Your partner should also be in on this task too so you are all on the same page – one of constructive planning with realistic outcomes and expectations of each other!
Children adapt to new situations and environments better that adults and they will be watching you and taking the lead from you as their parent. Understand that they need a structured day more than you might to keep positive and occupied and retain a sense of normality.
Make a game of making your timetables together – get the coloured pens out, get the stickers out, make mood boards with magazine cuttings – ask the children what fun things they can use – get creative! This constructive activity is a chance to inject some fun and to let your children’s imaginations run wild!
You could use a coloured marking system so each member of the family has their own colour on the timetable – or you may prefer to put names. Let the children tick each activity off when they have completed it – it’s a small thing that can boost their sense of achievement and therefore household happiness levels! Be sure to reward good behaviour to boost that family morale even more (and don’t forget your partner!)
LISTENING: This is an ideal time to review how the day went today and to casually chat about how everyone is feeling now and what things they might need to do tomorrow that will help them move towards a better time. This is also a great opportunity for children to learn that parents have needs too and to demonstrate that talking about them rather than demanding needs and wants can work very well!
See what fun things you can all come up with and what the positives of those could be as you talk about the potential of tomorrow – if you are all unusually at home during this time, perhaps there will be time tomorrow for an hour of family fun that would never have been possible before and that could bring you closer together as a family unit!
This is a great time to listen to each other and understand that everyone in the family has needs and what they are and to speak openly about expectations in context. It is also a great time to ask and consider together what are ‘the needs’ and what are ‘the wants’ and to prioritise helping each other with the needs.
Pop your individual timetables (or your big family timetable!) on the fridge or somewhere visible so it’s easy to refer to and will help make the day run smoother.
Keep it simple so everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing and at what time!
Build in lots of breaks and playtime for the children. Remember, they have short attention spans and this might mean you have to break your tasks down into short ‘chunks of achievement’!