How to work from home during lockdown with kids in tow
By Dana Daoud, icanbee.com
Are you trying to focus on your zoom meeting or tirelessly attempting to finish typing that important email all the while there’s yelling and whining in the background from your child, who’s nagging for a cup of water or fighting with their sibling over a cereal bowl?
Most parents are in this exact situation during the on-again, off-again corona lockdown, trying to stay sane and get their work done from home while also trying to attend to their kids’ school work, entertainment needs and continuous demands. It’s not easy - believe me I know.
So how can we make this unfamiliar situation work?
If I had a dirham for every time I gave my clients this tip, I would be a millionaire by now! I know many of us moms pride ourselves on being efficient “multitaskers” but MULTITASKING IS A MYTH.
Before you start arguing or stop reading this article, allow me to me explain why.
Research in neuroscience tells us that the brain doesn’t really do more than one task at the same time, as we thought or hoped it would. Instead, we just switch tasks quickly. Each time we move from drafting an email, to checking our text, to attending to our child, there is a start/stop process that goes on in the brain.
And even though us moms have probably gotten better at doing the start/stop/start process than men, it is a rough one on our brains; instead of saving us time, it costs us time, leads us to make more mistakes and gets us stressed out, and over time, it can drain our energy.
My no. 1 tip for working from home while the kids are around is stop multitasking and instead to allocate different times to doing each task.
For example, you can set 30 minutes to check your email, 45 minutes to work with your child, 10 minutes for a break to feel like yourself again, and so on and so forth.
Focus on each task and finish it better, faster, and with less energy.
Delegating is next on the list.Imagine your family are your staff and start delegating.
Take shifts with your partner for doing work and taking care of the kids. Have your older child look after their younger sibling. Allocate a household chose to each member of the family.
Additionally, don’t hesitate to talk to your boss about your work expectations and share any challenges you may be facing. Schedule deadlines in a way that you can deliver on time, in order to eliminate stress.
Another tip is to make sure you fill your children’s emotional tanks and connect with them before asking them to leave the room so you can start work.
This is important not only for parents to have their own time, but for raising emotionally self-regulated kids.
Make it a point to fill your child’s tank with connection, as it is not easy for them to be away from their routine, nature and friends.
After ensuring that their emotional needs have been met, get them busy by doing something they love - this will give you extra time to focus on your work, however, let’s be realistic, that doesn’t mean you will have a full day to finish your tasks,.
Surprise the kids with new ideas and games that would keep them busy but, most importantly, excited.
My son calls them surprises. Depending on their age, you can fill a Tupperware with ice cubes and ask them to melt the ice with water in syringes. Or hang scotch tape from one column to another and have them stick toys and balls on them. You can google many ideas on the internet.
Use door signs that have words or pictures that read out “mom is busy” or use a timer to time when they’re allowed to interrupt you.
Stay assured that kids are willing to cooperate and they will surprise you.
- Finally, this is not the time to feel guilty.
it’s OK to allow screen time so that you could have time for yourself. There are plenty of useful apps that you can get them to us or you can plan a playdate through a social media platform.
This is a great time to teach our children how to be resilient and not to stress in times of “new” and “unprecedented” situations.
And remember, you can use this time to take out your stress and frustrations on something positive, such as learning new life skills that you would continue to use in the future.
[For more information, contact I Can Self Development for Kids. Our coaches will be happy to answer your questions].