I think when many hear “work from home” they immediately think that’s a dream job! Score! And for many it definitely is! But working from home with kiddos at home – which many of us parents have (especially now!) – can be difficult and an adjustment. Heck, as I try to get this blog written in a timely fashion, I just had to stop and ask my 7-year-old: “Can you tell me just ONE more thing about your LEGO car and then let mommy finish some work?!” (Luckily he agreed!)
So here are some thoughts and advice on how to work from home while also juggling entertaining and educating a kid or two…or nine when you maybe weren’t expecting that!
- One moment at a time: I could have said one day at a time, but let’s be real, a day can feel very long when your normal routine is changed unexpectedly. So take whatever “moment” means to you and make it yours. Give yourself grace if you don’t have a dynamite schedule or if your kids are watching way too much screen time or if they are eating cereal in their pajamas past 10 a.m. Remember this is an adjustment for you and them.
- Make a realistic schedule: Read that again. I’ll wait. Realistic is the key word there. I had to remind myself that I’m not Mrs. B. and I’m not Mrs. Wilson. I’m mommy and our home schedule is going to look different than what they do at school and that’s OK. If we don’t get to something on our schedule, that’s OK. And guess what? If you don’t make a schedule – that’s OK too! Do what works best for you and yours.
- Make time for YOUR work: You still have a job to do. You still have responsibilities and an employer with expectations. Don’t feel guilty about saying you need some time to finish a task. Set the kiddos up with a snack, an activity, send them outside to play and use it a teachable moment in how we all have responsibilities and the importance of doing what you need to do to execute those responsibilities.
- Reach out to your village: Don’t reach out too far — we’re supposed to be staying home! But there are people who can help, care and give advice at your fingertips. Ask fellow parents for activity ideas, easy meal ideas, school work schedules, etc. My friend Rustin Sparks in Norman started a live-stream story time on Facebook where he and other folks in the community will read stories three times a day.
- Utilize available online resources for academics and activities, and here are my favorites:
- ABC YA: math and reading skills with fun games
- Switcheroo Zoo: play games while learning about animals
- LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems on YouTube: Children’s author Mo Willems does drawings in his home studio!
- Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube: stretch, breathe and find your inner chill with this fun workout with different themes
- Cincinnati Zoo Home Safari: The zoo features a different animal on its Facebook page every day.
- Fun Brain: www.funbrain.com: Play games while practicing math skills.
- Breathe: Slow breath in, slow breath out. And repeat this as often as you need. You’ve got this!
ReRe Lunsford is a Norman mom of two boys and an adjunct journalism professor at The University of Oklahoma.