If you’re a parent working from home at the moment, ensuring that your children are occupied during school closures will be key. It’s also important to manage expectations – yours, your Manager’s and your kids’. You may not have a straight number of hours to work non-stop. But you can still do your job well.
Ten top tips for childcare
- Make a plan with your manager. You may need to adapt your work routine around childcare and perhaps respond to requests via email more often than phone. Prioritise – it’s not going to be possible to do everything.
- Make a plan with your children, in ways they can understand for their age group. Where possible, there needs to be a good discussion about how this is going to be very different for you and them. Be honest about what you need to get done and let them help create a schedule – they’ll buy into it and be more settled than if they’re told what to do and how they can help.
- If you’re one of two parents at home, master the art of ‘tag teaming’. Set clear allotted times to work while the other parent entertains the children. Flexibility and teamwork are key.
- If you have an office (preferably with a lockable door), teach your children to respect an ‘unavailable’ sign on the door when you’re in a meeting. Otherwise, set up your own workspace and invest in noise-cancelling headphones or a headset and microphone with an easy-to-access mute button.
- For younger children, make the most of sleep time. Work efficiently when your little one naps in the day, before they wake up in the mornings or once they’ve gone to bed for the night.
- Think about what can make your child feel safer, calmer and happier? More reading, calming activities, speaking to them quietly and confidently, more cuddles and physical reassurance. Put those things in place and it will help both of you de-stress.
- For school age children, invest focused attention at allotted times. Factor in certain times in the day to fully engage with your child with short activities. This should encourage them to engage in independent play or homework afterwards.
- Keep them moving. At school, children have regular activity – playtime outdoors and sports lessons, for example. Integrate exercise into your day – practise sport in the garden or download dance and fitness sessions to follow together.
- For teenagers it is all about negotiation – right from the start, get involved and ask to see their schoolwork, help them access online resources – being part of their world can really help. Ask them what their plan is and remain connected to how they are feeling.
- When monitored, online games can be a positive way for teenagers to engage with friends. Encourage them to use Skype/other social media or make old-fashioned phone calls to family.
Useful resources for parent
Whilst we need to be mindful of keeping screen time within sensible boundaries, using technology to help occupy children, at the same time as educating, stimulating and interesting them, is a win-win situation. The following are links to potential online resources that could help:
- Geography Games – Geography gaming!
- Blue Peter Badges – If you have a stamp and a nearby post box…
- The Artful Parent – Free art activities
- British Council – Classroom Resources for English language learning and other topics
- Oxford Owl for Home – Lots of free resources for Primary age
- Tinkercad – All kinds of making.
- Prodigy Maths – Is in U.S. grades, but good for UK Primary age.
- Cbeebies Radio – Listening activities for the younger ones.
- Nature Detectives – For activities in the garden
- Crest Awards – Science awards you can complete from home.
- iDEA Awards – Digital enterprise award scheme you can complete online.
- Paw Print Badges – Free challenge packs and downloads. (Badges cost but are optional)
Access more practical business advice for coronovirus (COVID-19) here
This is the third of three blogs around working from home.
This article was original published by Menzies here
Menzies is a top 20 leading firm of accountants, finance and business advisors that operate out of a network of offices across Surrey, Hampshire and London, providing our clients with easy access and local knowledge. Described as the ‘best performing firm outside of the top 10’ by Accountancy Magazine, Menzies has over 400 employees and an annual turnover of more than £40m.