As the reality of the next few months sinks in, more parents once again face the hardships of home schooling and home working, we explore how parents can cope with the pressures of working from home with kids (again).
“Our hearts literally sank when the Prime Minister said those words “schools are to close” because we remember what is was like last time – seriously tough times. Entertaining the kids whilst trying our best to keep working and the money coming in. Plus, last time the weather was nice, now it is awful”, explains Jonathan Ratcliffe from Office Provider Offices.co.uk
Working from home is tough. Home schooling is very tough. So, if you must combine the two for a long period of time, how are you going to cope?
Our 10 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 LIKE TEACHER AND STUDENT: Getting showered and dressed is important to divide sleep and school.
CREATE SPACES FOR DIFFERENT ACTVITIES: You might set up a teaching room (kitchen), quiet room (spare bedroom) and a play area (living room)
STRUCTURE YOUR 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 TV, IPAD 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, BEDTIME AT A SET TIME: 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 BOOZE TOO MUCH: 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 will wake in a grumpy mood. Try and keep drinking to a minimum.
“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”, explains Ratcliffe
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.
“You firstly need to take some time to come to terms with the change in lifestyle – and lower expectations, because the minute you try and do too much, is when the stress will hit you like a brick wall – life has changed for a few months and you need to accept that”, Ratcliffe adds.
- Lower your expectations of what you will achieve with work
- Communicate with your boss daily
- Simplify your day into a set routine
- Do not try and achieve too much
- Pause and try and appreciate moments with your kids (if you can!)
“The only positive is that you’ve done this before, and you can do it again – but life has changed and coming to terms with that is a good start. It is not an easy time for anyone, and especially the kids who will also be finding the change hard to cope with, especially if you are stressed! Good luck to everyone”, concludes Ratcliffe.