Five Tips for Working Parents, Working from Home
The recent shelter-in-place order has caused us to move much of our daily life from the public space into our homes. Many of us at MODintelechy have little ones, if that’s your family too, there’s been the added challenge of transitioning to home-school in a matter of days. So, we’ve put together some tips to set you and your children up for success. If you’re looking for screen-free ways to create more independent play, fill the time—and let you get more work done—these five tips are a great place to start.
Setup Spaces for Different Types of Play
Creating distinct areas of your home for different activities add predictability for your children during these unpredictable times. The three areas I recommend having are a quiet space, learning zone, and an art/messy area. For the messy area, put down a tarp or an old tablecloth and tape newspaper to the table, so your kids know it’s okay to get paint on the table or let rice spill on the floor. Make the quiet space cozier with books and puzzles, and turn the kitchen table into a learning zone, making sure to remove clutter and limit distractions (including passersby looking for a snack).
Take It Slow and Steady
Once you’ve set up an activity for your child in the appropriate space, make the transition to independent playtime gradual. Sit with your child and let them soak up your attention as they begin their activity. Once you’ve hung out for a while, tell them where you will be (best if it can be in the same room), that you will be working on your laptop—for example—and when you will be back to play some more. Giving them parameters for both play and your work time comforts them and gives you a firmer schedule to keep.
Get Ahead of Boredom
Keep your home free from clutter while giving new life to ‘old’ toys with toy rotation. Just like a minimalist wardrobe, fewer options means you can engage more with what is available. Use 64-quart clear storage bins (so you can see what’s in there) to store the majority of toys out of reach and display a selection for them in a mindful way so your children can discover each one by themselves. Every few weeks, bring out one of your storage bins to store the current toys and replace them with ‘new’ ones. Toy rotation is one of my favorite tools and will ensure the “b” word is never uttered.
Block Off Time for Connection
If you have some flexibility in your WFH schedule, consider blocking off time throughout your workday to connect with your child. Most children would rather have one hour of focused attention instead of a full day of half-in/half-out attention. Remember, you can give attention without words. Sitting in the presence of a loved one, without saying anything, can be just as fulfilling. Family dinners are also a great tradition to start or continue, giving everyone time together and something to look forward to each day.
Schedule time to get outside together, even if it’s just a hanging out in the backyard. Kids love having the room to run and play, and it’s a good break and/or end to the workday too. If you can’t go outside, try incorporating movement with homemade obstacle courses or by initiating some friendly wrestling. But when you can, take the opportunity to get some fresh air and get moving—it will do the whole family some good!
For an added bonus, include your kids on your video chats (when possible/appropriate) the MODintelechy kiddos loved being a part of our first Zoom Happy Hour last week—those smaller smiles definitely brought joy to our team. With these approaches, we hope you can find moments of fun and value the togetherness this time has brought, despite the circumstance. We hope you find this helpful! For other insights like these, check out the rest of the MODintelechy blog inventory.