Stay-at-home orders are sweeping across the country. Employees are trying to find their new normal working from home. No matter the age, kids are now at home too. Schools have transitioned their students to e-learning, and daycares are focused on providing services only to our essential workforce. Working parents are not new to the balancing act of work and home life; now, they have merged, creating a need to re-balance.
Here are some ideas to make it easier.
- Wake Up Early. Setting the alarm for each day is a critical step in creating an at-home schedule. Set your alarm to go off at least an hour, if not longer before your children usually wake. Get your morning off to a productive start by a quick shower, followed by a visit to the kitchen to fetch your favorite morning beverage. Think of this time as the most precious time of the day--because it is! Work through your critical tasks, allowing other tasks to be worked through the day. As the children are stirring, wrap up what you are working on so you can transition to morning with them.
- Plan a Schedule. Your daily schedule will depend on the ages of your children. Younger children will need guided activities while older children can work through activities that have been planned for them. Your daily schedule should include mealtimes and activity times, including reading, academic, physical fitness, and creativity times. Break up these activities to suit the age and the disposition of your children. In the end, both you and your children will benefit from a routine.
- Plan Quiet Time. Embedded in your daily schedule is quiet time. This is a critical time for both you and your children. Your children can nap, rest, read, or watch a show or movie. This is your time to check in with work. Spend a solid hour reconnecting with your coworkers, checking in with your boss, or working those tasks. This time is sacred!
- After Bedtime. Part of the daily routine for you and your family is bedtime. Enforcing a bedtime for your kids will allow you time to check in with work once more, decompress, and organize your task list for the next day. Do allow yourself time to breathe! Days at home are filled with non-stop action; enjoy a little quiet time!
- Be Flexible. Don't forget to enjoy this time with your kids. Push back that task list to make them their favorite breakfast or lay with them for a bit during quiet time. Give yourself grace as you try to do it all. Plan downtime on the weekends; the lower stress of a free-flowing day will set you up for the scheduled week ahead. Be honest with your boss and your team; ask for their flexibility during this time.
It is heartening to know that everyone is trying to figure this out! We are all in this together. Find the goodness in this new normal--and be forgiving when it all falls apart. Just remember that every day is a fresh start!
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