Working remotely with kids at home
A recent Monster poll found that 65% of parents feel stress and anxiety about their kids going back to school during the pandemic.
With school shutdowns and millions of people working remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are facing the challenge of managing childcare and their careers simultaneously. Having to work from home with kids is no easy feat. This struggle of balancing personal and professional lives is nothing new, but now for many parents, the two are entangled as the home, office, school, and daycare are temporarily co-mingled.
Back-to-school time is another hurdle. A recent Monster poll found that 65% of parents feel stress or anxiety about their kids going back to school during the pandemic, with the highest stressor being the possibility their kids will become exposed to COVID-19. Only 38.5% of parents felt their company is being supportive of parents of kids who are going back to school. When asked what initiatives would best support parents, 75% said offering schedule flexibility and the opportunity to work from home (WFH); 8.5% said providing childcare services; and 6.3% said it would be helpful to provide tutoring or learning resources.
Kids might have a combination of remote and in-person learning. Many schools are implementing rotating schedules so the classrooms will be less crowded and students and teachers can stick to social distancing and other public health guidelines.
These are some best practices that can help you juggle everything, whether your kids go back to school completely, learn remotely, or a combination of the two.
Create a schedule
Start each morning by creating a schedule for older kids, such as completing assignments, studying, and taking virtual classes online. If your kids are younger, create a schedule filled with activities like arts and crafts, virtual classes, and puzzles and games.
Try to mimic the schedule they have for the school day, but swap in virtual classes, textbooks and worksheets, and other learning activities so you don’t have to do your job and become an expert in advanced algebra.
Make an accommodating workday
If you work from home with kids that need constant supervision and a partner who is also working from home, take turns so you can each get some blocks of uninterrupted work time. One of you could work in the same room with the kids or do the activities with them, while the other works elsewhere.
If you’re a solo parent during the workday, talk to your manager and see if you can work at different hours that are more convenient for you. You could wake up early and work before your kids wake up, work during their naptime, and log back on once your kids are asleep.
Create a work area
If possible, make one of the rooms of your home a temporary office. Put a sign on the door so people know that you are in a meeting or on a call. Use headphones for calls and mute yourself when you aren’t speaking so it is less noisy.
Be open with your co-workers
It is likely that your co-workers are also taking care of other loved ones in their lives, whether it is aging parents, children of their own, or a family member who is sick. Normally, you might be more private about sharing the details of your family life, but this isn’t a normal time.
Let co-workers know that there is a chance that your toddler will interrupt your video chat, that you need to take a family member to the hospital, or that you can’t make a particular meeting time. Be honest about deadlines and deliverables, and communicate if you think you need an extension or can’t complete something. Another team member might be able to help.
This may be an emotionally difficult time for you and your kids. Know that it is okay if the school schedule goes out the window, screen-time increases for the entire family, or you aren’t as productive and focused as usual.
If you go on social media, it might seem like people have it all figured out—people share their homeschool schedules, their kids take video classes with grandparents and teachers, and they all cook a gourmet meal together each night. Try not to compare yourself, and focus on what is best for you and your family—even if that means taking a Candyland break after a conference call or turning on Frozen when you really need to finish your marketing report by the deadline.
Want to learn more ways to cope as you work from home with kids in tow? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you’ll get career advice, job search tips, and practical pandemic plans to help you put one foot in front of the other.