How do you juggle WFH when schools are closed?
Work From Home (WFH) has become the norm for most working professionals since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in the IT sector. However, whereas earlier, WFH was considered a perk — a huge benefit in any potential job offer too — that notion no longer rings true. This is because of the huge burden placed on parents by the shutdown of schools, as well as the absence of domestic helpers & maids. What this entails is that parents now have to do the work of parents, teachers, and maids — all within the same 24 hours of a day. While dealing with professional work and doing chores are clear enough, it is the education part — that was often left to the teachers of their children’s school — that has proved to be challenging.
So, to help parents deal with this while retaining their sanity, here’s a few pointers to help deal with junior’s needs.
Firstly, safety is paramount. Children need to feel safe during a time like this. It’s important to create a daily family schedule to maintain routines. Try limiting exposure to frightening images on TV shows, movies, and the Internet. Also, prevent your children from receiving too much information from the media about COVID-19, whether through TV or the internet.
Parents should be ready to answer kids’ questions about COVID that they may hear on the news or from friends. Let them know that although COVID can be serious, progress is being made and people are recovering from the disease.
Make time for recreation — go for a family walk around the neighborhood — of course, while staying six feet apart from neighbors. Kids can also play in the backyard — provided they take the precautions of wearing masks or face shields and wash their hands once home.
Understand that children need attention. And WFH means that while they can see you physically, it doesn’t mean you are always accessible to them. This can create resentment should they fail to understand it. To prevent this, create separate spaces for learning and work. Communicate your schedule, including work time and playtime so children know what to expect.
But it needn’t be all serious. You can be silly with your children — irrespective of their age. Also, use this time to let children know they’re doing their part. Encourage them to help in the kitchen such as preparing for meals, cleaning up etc. Be sure to take frequent breaks to regroup before the next task. It is important to “just be in the moment.” Do not try and multitask. Remember, you are their teacher giving them undivided attention during that time.
Remember the arts & crafts ‘projects’ that you always had to help them complete cause the other kids’ parents were helping theirs and would get more marks? Well, guess what, the Education Policy in the country has changed and so should you! Create art projects using items around the house and backyard. Let your children make it on their own — you can of course, always provide guidance. Learning can be fun. Contrary to popular belief, baking and cooking are great examples of math and science!
The use of social media to connect with family and friends is important during these anxious times. There are all kinds of things you can do as a group: Read a book, play games, eat a meal and more. As parents, you can reach out to friends, family, and colleagues with phone calls, social media, and video tools like FaceTime and Skype. If you’re creative, whether designing dresses for children or making jewelry, now is a chance to test out & get feedback about it. Who knows, maybe you’ll even be able to start selling over Live Video?
Finally, encourage your children to indulge in their hobbies — if they like reading books, get some good classics. If they like music or dance, get them a beginner's instrument to start practicing or learn from youtube videos.
Remember, in the end, you want to provide your children with the best environment where they can continue learning & enjoy themselves, even as their schools are shut. Keep them occupied, keep them happy & last but not least, keep them safe.
At Baaz, many of us parents, we try ensuring that WFH & taking care of home & family go hand-in-hand with as minimum friction as possible. The above points have certainly helped us and we hope it does for you too. BTW, should you care about your children’s safety while they play, one of the influencers in our network — Jaimi — has reviewed these amazing masks & shields from D’chica which are available in her live video shopping store.