The Challenge of Caring for Children While Working from Home
Due to the current health situation we’re experiencing, more and more parents are facing the challenge of caring for their children while working from home. And we say challenge because combining work performance with child-rearing isn’t an easy task.
The interruptions can be constant, as your children need you. And yet, despite being by their side at all times, you can’t be as available to them as you’d like. Thus, you finish your days feeling that you haven’t been giving the best of yourself to either your work or your children.
Before anxiety and guilt take over, try to breathe and get some perspective. Set the best conditions to be able to do your work and family tasks but, once you do this, avoid punishing, judging, or demanding too much of yourself.
Keys to taking care of your children while working from home
Choose a suitable space
Because you’re home, you may be tempted to reduce the formality of your working hours and do your tasks anywhere. However, if you want to be productive, it’s important for you to have a specific workspace.
This will help your mind create a division between your family routine and business hours. Thus, when you enter this space, your mind will understand that it’s time to focus your attention on your professional obligations.
Make sure you’re in an organized, clean, bright, and well-ventilated environment. If possible, try to make sure it’s a room with doors to avoid interruptions and distractions. Above all, try to make this makeshift office cozy and a place that helps you focus.
Establish schedules to take care of your children while working from home
Having a routine is important for your well-being and productivity. If you don’t establish schedules, you’ll end up trying to do several tasks at once in an interrupted and alternated way. And this will evidently lead to you needing more time to achieve your objectives or half-do your tasks.
Therefore, establish in advance the time you’ll dedicate to each activity and try to follow this schedule as closely as possible. This means that you should try to avoid interruptions from your family while you work. However, it also means that you must dedicate your time fully to them when appropriate.
Marking a schedule will allow you to avoid interference from some tasks while you’re doing others, since you’ll have an assigned time for all of them.
However, establishing schedules and following them isn’t always easy, since you aren’t in an office. You’re at home and you also have to take care of your children! For this reason, it’s very important to be organized.
If you live with your partner or other adults, try to make a joint schedule. Set times to make sure that every adult can work with peace of mind, as they know that their partner is taking care of the children. It may be difficult for both of you to work at the same time, since you’ll probably be distracted by your children.
On the other hand, if you’re the only adult at home, you can take advantage of your children’s rest hours to do your professional tasks. Get up before them and work while they’re napping or when they go to bed.
If this isn’t possible or enough, try to involve your children in your work routine. In other words, explain to them that you have to dedicate certain hours to working and suggest that they do their homework while you work. They can also read or do other quiet activities during your “work hours.”
Above all, be lenient and compassionate with yourself. Understand that we’re experiencing an extraordinary situation and that everyone makes adjustments in the best possible way. Thus, don’t be too hard on yourself if your children spend more time watching television, if your work tasks get the best of you one day, or if you burn your dinner.
We’re living difficult times and the only way you’ll succeed is if you take perspective and avoid being overly self-demanding. Do the best you can, but allow yourself to enjoy spending quality time with your family and don’t let anxiety get the best of you.