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How to Survive the School Holidays when Working from Home
Aug 16, 2021
Dear Parents, do not fret... The end is in sight! If you've been working from home through the school summer holidays, we salute you!
But as it begins to get colder and darker, and the joys of outdoor playtime begin to fade, we have some tips on how to survive the final weeks of school holidays.
Here, Communicate Better brings you 5 ways to survive:
1. Be honest and realistic
Okay, lay all your cards on the table and admit it... you'll get less done when you're working from home with children.
It's important not to place too much pressure on yourself during this time. Yes, it's going to be a stressful period for you but children pick up on this and we need to meet their needs as well.
Try to be open and honest with your employer or clients (it will save you a lot of headache in the long run!)
Set realistic expectations and deadlines for tasks. You may also be able to suggest alternative working hours or projects for a time when you know you'll be able to get more work done.
2. Maintain a structure
A major mistake that remote workers tend to make is that they throw the rule book out the window.
A way to keep things as normal as possible is to maintain some sort of structure. Keep to your daily routine and ensure your children have stability and structure too.
If old enough, allowing your children to help plan the schedule with you helps them to feel involved and part of the routine.
With everybody knowing what’s expected and how the family are going to work together, it makes taking time away from your children to work much easier.
For older children who can manage their own routine, it’s less of an issue. With younger children and toddlers who demand more of your attention, there’s no silver bullet. It’s hard.
3. Be flexible
You're not one of the Stepford Wives! Keep an open mind that your routine may change from time to time.
There will be times when you have to stick to standard office hours and be involved with video conference calls but there might be some work you can do in your own time.
Within your day, look at those small ‘pockets of time’ that you can make use of to get small jobs done such as social media or a quick phone call.
Whereas you may have had blocks of one or two hours before, you may now only get 20-30 minutes of focused time. Know your limitations and accept them for now. Think about how to adjust your to-do list so you can optimise the time you have.
4. Get creative
Setting activities that children can do with limited involvement from you is the goal.
Be cautious of too much screen time though! Instead, bring out the craft box and make sure it’s filled with supplies. Glue, crayons, card, stickers, glitter (if you dare). They might get messy but it does give you time!
With older children who can follow instructions, set them to work on a project. With younger children, bring out Lego, board games and jigsaw puzzles. Colouring books and stickers also tend to occupy a lot of time.
If your child has siblings, give them a chance to work as team.
Set challenges in the garden such as treasure hunts or mini obstacle courses, and include your children in daily chores and household tasks.
5. Communicate and Cooperate
Don't underestimate what your children can understand.
It takes a little time for children to get used to the idea that if you’re home, you’re not always available, but they do adapt quickly.
Talk to your children about what you’re doing and let them know you’ll be free at a set time. Some people use a sign on the office door to let their children know they’re working.
If you don’t have a separate office, creating a safe and cosy place for them to play so they won’t want to keep disturbing you does help.
Try to schedule in group family time when you all come together at the end of the day.
Having an evening meal together can signify the end of the working day and is a good time to chat through any issues, talk about what you can do differently and get your children’s input as well.
Don't worry, you're doing great! (And it it helps, it's nearly over...)
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