Feeling frazzled and stretched in every direction juggling work, household chores and kids constantly vying for your attention? This has become a common experience among working parents with kids.
Apart from keeping up with endless work demands, many parents double up as IT consultants and computer troubleshooters as children adjust to home-based learning. Younger kids regularly require attention and may burst into the room oblivious to intense work discussions or video conferences taking place.
Working from home has dissolved the physical separation that the office provides between work and family lives. Extended periods at home has morphed into an emotionally sapping
nightmare for many parents. With the circuit breaker period extending through May, how can parents manage all these while keeping their sanity?
In my earlier post, I shared about creating and observing a routine to get into the groove of a new rhythm. This might be easier for singles, couples, and families with adult children. However, families with young children will find this challenging. How is it possible to keep to a routine when children regularly demand for attention, protest about toys being snatched by a sibling and a myriad of other factors that threaten to derail even the best made plans?
One technique to explore is to involve children in drawing up the family routine and agreeing on boundaries. This creates ownership. When children think that their needs and concerns are heard and considered, they feel respected and valued. It becomes easier to get their cooperation and commitment.
Children are at a crucial stage in their development where parental involvement is critical to the formation of healthy attachment patters. Children whose parents are emotionally present and available tend to exhibit higher levels of confidence in later years. Parents should carve out time in the day to be fully present with their children, whether it is playing with them or accompanying them as they navigate their online lessons and assignments.
To this end, in designing a routine, ensure that regular time is allocated exclusively for your children. It is important to be fully present in the room with them and avoid being on the phone or engaging in other tasks. Giving children your undivided attention meets their need for parental love and paves the way for boundaries to be set where you must not be disturbed at other times.
Communication is crucial in setting boundaries with children. Parents need to invest time to explain why they should not be disturbed at certain times of the day. There are many creative ways to communicate with children. A popular way is to structure the family routine as a game with small rewards for successful completion. This injects fun and adventure that children relish and is emotionally uplifting for parents too. Parents should also explore avenues for children to remain occupied or play alone when they need be focus on work. Do involve children in the conversation. It also doubles up as quality time spent with them.
Children need time to adjust to new routines and parents should avoid meting out harsh discipline when these boundaries are broken. Take time to explain and reason with them whenever they do not keep their promises. It is also a good opportunity to hear their side of the story and tweak the family schedule where necessary.
Want to connect with me or share your opinions and experience working from home? Please connect with us through the comments or send us a message. Do bookmark this space for upcoming articles on hacks for a better stay at home experience.
(Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash)