It has been a year since the outbreak of the pandemic, and the impact it has had on us is still felt to this day. Businesses, communities, the economy, and families were heavily affected, crippling all aspects of what we used to know as normalcy.
Both parents and children have had to adjust to work and school as the world drastically switched virtually. If you are struggling with your child’s virtual learning, know that you are not alone. In a study conducted by the United States Census Bureau in 2020, at least one adult must stay at home to focus on the child’s learning and schoolwork.
It also showed that as most moms spend more time with their children, dads have also increased their childcare roles. Balancing work and parenting in a stay-at-home setup is a challenge that adults now need to face. Let’s be honest — it can be really tough.
The American Academy of Pediatrics warned the public that keeping children out of school could potentially threaten their mental and physical health due to social isolation.
So, how do we manage our new normal more healthily?
Set some ground rules
One key strategy to a successful work-from-home setup is drawing the line and sticking with it. Make sure that you communicate the boundaries clearly with your family and explain it in such a way that it’s properly conveyed. Some people prefer having their own space when working, while others like to move around as they find the right spot. No matter the situation, set some rules. You know you’re comfortable and can get your work done when you’re in your ”work zone.” Make sure that your children also know when to keep it down. Give them an area where they can play, study, and do other activities. Having this distance can help you and your spouse concentrate on your work. If only you could go to a daycare to drop off your kids, right? Laying out some rules with the whole family can help everyone get out of each other’s hair.
Set some realistic goals
It’s important to make a schedule that you and your children could easily follow. Set a time for work, play, learning, and even some “me time.” Learn to prioritize the important tasks you need to accomplish for the day and what goals you want to achieve by the end of it. Baby steps and patience are key. It’s okay to keep trying out new approaches as you set more realistic goals. You’ll get there.
One of the best benefits we can take away from working from home is flexibility. So, take advantage of that. Spice up your weekend routines. Try to come up with activities that you can do at home and that you and your kids would love. Set up a play area in the backyard. Sit down and watch a movie while eating their favorite snacks. Having something to look forward to will keep your kids at bay, and they would be less likely to interrupt you.
Ask for help
Let’s face it, not everyone has control over their working hours. We’re still adjusting to this trying time, and having slips here and there is understandable. It’s okay to ask for help. You may want to talk with your partner about sharing the chores and making a schedule that you can all follow. In some cases, talking to other parents and seeking advice can also be an advantage. They might have already come up with ideas that they can share with you.
In various aspects of life, taking a break is essential, especially when things get too overwhelming. It’s important to take some time each day to just focus on yourself. Taking care of your family is just as important as self-care, so don’t feel guilty about it. Remember, you’re doing it not only for your sake but also for the rest of the family. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
Working from home may not be ideal for everyone, and that’s okay. Finding the right work-life balance in a stay-at-home setup is a challenge, but know that this is just a phase. This, too, shall pass. Focus on the good. This could be a way for your family to build a better connection, improve communication, and even help you toughen up as an employee.
There’s no one right way to do it, so make sure to always be gentle with your kids and with yourself. You’re doing great, moms and dads!