As a result of the corona virus outbreak, more than 20 lakh IT employees across the country are expected to work from home. In addition to this, employees working in other service sectors have been instructed to discontinue regular attendance.
Working remotely requires one to deal with demands of work life, home life and parenting. While most parents would have worked from home with their kids on an occasional day in the past, the prospect of doing so for weeks or till the situation improves can be stressful.
The reality of working remotely every single day with kids by your side is not easy especially when they throw tantrums, fuss often, and have unreasonable demands which most parents are forced to give-in to, only to keep them away.
Challenges faced by a Work-at-Home Parent
Whether you’re used to working from home with your kids around or new to this setup, here are some challenges you’re likely to face:
- Kids tend to snack often. As a parent, it’s important for you to incorporate smart snacking choices and regulate this habit.
- They spend too much time on their iPads/tablets. Did you know? Kids spend over two hours a day on screens while 42 percent children have their digital device.
- School closure and lack of activity can make them feel bored easily. This can lead to listlessness as they’re are already stuck indoors and are away from their friends.
Ways to Discipline Kids & Work-From-Home Effectively
If you’re plagued with the above challenges or finding it difficult managing your tiny-tot during this phase, we have some tips for you.
- Create a routine/schedule: The first place to start is by creating a routine for your child. The only way you can focus on your work is when your child is occupied. You can establish a screen time routine too. Plan their day sensibly and you will be at peace.
- Communicate and set boundaries: If your child is 5+, talk to them and tell them when you need to be in ‘do not disturb’ mode. If you’re someone without a designated workspace at home, it is important to set boundaries with your child. You can also turn this into a playful routine or game where if they disturb you, they get a minus point.
- Bring in art supplies, games and puzzles that will reinforce learning at home: The best way to keep kids occupied is by incorporating activities in their daily routine which they will enjoy. Consider buying them puzzles, colouring books, novels and games which will keep them energised, educated, entertained, and encourage critical thinking.
- Take breaks to be with them: Never let your child feel like you have no time for them. Within your work from home routine, plan for interruptions. Take small breaks to play with them, feed them or simply talk to them.
- Enforce good eating habits: When you’re working at your desk, keep tabs on your child’s eating habits. A parent should lay the foundation of what’s healthy and what’s not with their kids.
- Take turns in spending time with the kids: If both you and your partner are working from home, take turns in spending time with the kids. When both the parents give a child little attention, he/she is less likely to feel neglected and will display the best .
- Reward them when they are well-behaved: During your work-from-home phase, if your little one is well-behaved and disciplined, consider rewarding them with their favourite chocolate, a meal or an outing. Rewards will encourage them to do more of the things you want them to do.
It is vital for you to be stern with your child’s schedule during your work-from-home phase or else it can completely disrupt your productivity. Also, you must explain to your kids that this freedom is short-lived due to the pandemic, and you will soon be getting back to your work routine once the situation improves. You don’t want to confuse your child that you will be working from home forever.
Shunila Joy Chauhan
Principal of Thakur International School Cambridge