Welcome to our guest blog with experts from the world of health and wellness…
Many parents have found themselves in the rather new situation of having to work from home with children around.
So, this week, we’re delighted to welcome Miki Maruko to share her “3 Pointers” on parenting while working from home during COVID-19.
Miki is a Conscious Parenting Coach, Certified Parent Practice Educator and has a background in Psychology, HR and Holistic Therapy. She is the Founder of My Parent Toolkit, an online parenting education company that empowers parents with pragmatic tools and strategies to successfully navigate and manage everyday family life.
As everyone adjusts to this new normal, Miki provides her 3 Pointers for a smoother transition.
1. SET ROUTINES
All of us need some sort of routine or rough schedule to follow in our daily lives, and this is especially the case now as everyone is mostly confined to the home. Children are used to routines and in a time of anxiety and uncertainty, it helps them feel more secure to have a rough schedule to follow. It also helps them understand what they need to do and what is expected of them.
To set a rough weekday schedule, get the family together and have a discussion about what everyone will need to do and how much time is realistic for each task. For example, for school children you might have periods of 45 minutes where they need to do their distance learning, following by a 15-30 minute break. In addition to study sessions and breaks, include time for unstructured play, outside time, non-negotiables (e.g. household contributions etc.) and quiet time.
Once you’ve roughly worked out the children’s schedules, you can then easily see the pockets of time you where you’ll be able to work productively. Remember that the schedule should allow for some flexibility and should be reviewed each week as everyone adjusts to being at home together.
2. CHECK-IN WITH YOURSELF
It can be really easy to get overwhelmed by these unprecedented times that we find ourselves in, especially if you have the pressure of having to work from home as well as be with your children. You might find yourself having to manage the children’s home learning, their playtime, your work as well as preparing more snacks and meals than you usually do – not to mention all the housework!
The trick to staying calm and productive is to continually check-in with yourself and assess how you are doing. Too often, we are so worried about juggling all the things and looking after the rest of the family that we forget about our own wellbeing.
Check in with your body and mind and ask yourself how you’re feeling – physically and mentally. Take the answers to this as clues for what adjustments might need to be made in your new schedule. Are you getting enough of the basics – sleep, water, nutrition and exercise? Do you need to find ways to manage your stress, anxiety or expectations? Do you need to build in more “me” time? Make a habit of checking-in with yourself daily so that you stay aware of your own wellbeing.
3. TAKE TIME TO CONNECT
We have a special opportunity now to spend more time with our children. For most people, it will be an adjustment and probably quite a tough one. Everyone will be full of different emotions – from excitement through to anxiety – and having a bit of daily “me” time and space will be necessary for everyone’s wellbeing. However, as your family finds and settles into its own rhythm, build-in time together having fun and connecting with one another to further strengthen those family bonds.
There are many ways to build strong family connections. Having fun, playing and laughing together are the simplest. If you can, get outside and get moving together. Fresh air and physical activity can boost everyone’s mood. If you’re stuck at home, consider sock fights, dance parties, cooking together, game or film nights. Find activities that your family enjoys and do them together.
Not only is connection the special “glue” that binds families together, it’s the thing that will ensure that your children feel secure enough to talk to you about how they’re coping and the thing that will remind you that you’re all going to get through these unprecedented times together, and stronger.