As we are nearly a year into this pandemic, with no true end in sight, working from home has long lost its luster and continues to present many difficult challenges for parents. As a therapist working during the pandemic, this has been one of the most frustrating complaints of parents. They often ask, “How do I work from home, help my children with online school, and parent?” While there are no perfect solutions to ease the challenges, I have found a few tips that may help out if you are struggling to juggle working from home and parenting.
1. Break up the days into shifts.
If you are lucky enough to have to have a co-parent, family member, friend, or neighbor who is quarantining with you, try breaking up the days into shifts. During these shifts you can prioritize the tasks that require the most focus and do the more mundane tasks while assisting your child with their schoolwork. You may simply feel better knowing that you will have 2-3 hours at some point in the day that you can use just for yourself.
2. Figure out what is distracting you.
Figure out where you are being distracted the most. Is it because your children are hungry and want snacks or drinks throughout the day? With their assistance, put together a snack/drink section in the fridge that is accessible to them. That way when they need something, they can go on their own and pick out what they would like. Or maybe your children are asking you to play or interact with them. Children are having a difficult time understanding why parents are home, but not available. It may be tempting to keep putting them off, but usually that just results in additional asks and more distractions. Honor their request the first time. This way, you have fulfilled their need for attention and you will be able to focus on your work for a while.
3. Designate time for interruptions.
It also may be helpful to create a system of when you can be interrupted. Children will most likely not be able follow the rule of not interrupting you during “business hours”, however they may be less likely to interrupt if they know they must not bother you during specific times. For example, when you are in an important meeting with your boss, you may not be interrupted. Try putting a sign outside your door or near your workspace that tells children this. When you are allowed to be interrupted, put out a different sign that lets them know interruptions are okay. For example, when you are simply catching up with a coworker or responding to emails.
4. Accept that you will not be as productive at home.
Finally, come to terms with the fact that your productivity is not going to look the same as when you were working in the office and that is okay. Remember productivity does NOT define us. Be kind and patient with yourself. Also remember to continue to set healthy work/life boundaries. Just because you are working from home does not mean it is necessary to check and respond to emails at 9pm. You would not be available at that time in an office setting. Regular business hours still apply. It is healthy and important to continue to separate our work and personal life even though they now occur in the same place.
We’re Here To Help
Working from home and parenting at the same time can be difficult. We can help work with you and your child to cope with this new way of living. We are here to support you and your family!
Book an appointment online or call our office today at (858) 776-8804. We currently offer tele-therapy appointments for all clients and are accepting new clients now.