Tips for Working Parents During COVID-19
By Joana Sharinger | Career Counselor | Office of Career & Life Design
Being a working parent during normal times already requires a lot of patience, multi-tasking, and adjustment to unexpected situations, but during a pandemic – when you have to work full-time and take care of your kids at the same time – it sounds simply unsustainable. Working from home with kids is really difficult, but there are some adjustments that could help you manage the level of stress during this time.
Create A Schedule That Works For You
The best part of working from home is flexibility. Create a new schedule that adjusts to your family needs. You might not be able to get all your work done during a typical nine-to-five schedule, so you have the option to get creative and consider unconventional working hours. For instance, some parents would work before their kids wake up, or alternate hours with their partner’s work schedule.
Be Upfront With Your Boss
Clearly communicate to your boss your needs. Having this conversation upfront will help everyone be aware of your new schedule and will make your life less stressful. You might as well be able to rearrange meetings and deadlines. This article from TheMuse.com shares an example of what a message to your boss could look like:
“As I transition to working from home, I wanted to share that I am also responsible for my three kids, who I will be homeschooling for the time being due to school closures. I am creating a schedule that I will share with you so that you’re aware of when I will be available or unavailable for calls or collaboration. I am absolutely committed to maintaining the level of excellence you expect and will remain in close communication with you so you’re clear on how I’m meeting our goals. I appreciate your support and look forward to navigating this together.”Melody Godfred, TheMuse, Career Coach
Stick To A Routine
It’s important to maintain a daily routine as it will help everyone in the house to stay occupied and manage some anxiety caused by this big change. Make sure you pin your schedule to the wall or refrigerator so everyone can check it out throughout the day. You can also allow some free time in the schedule where kids can choose what to do. In addition, as kids will naturally spend more time online during the lockdown, you can incorporate into their schedule some pre-defined online activities. This article from Vox.com provides a list of educational online activities for kids.
Take Time For Yourself
Taking time for yourself is just as important as creating a schedule and a routine. Dealing with a pandemic and being “on” all the time as a working parent can really drain your energy. Make sure you block your calendar for some downtime. That could include reading a book, listening to music, meditating, practicing yoga, gardening, or going for a walk. This is probably the most important aspect as you navigate this very difficult time. After all, you need to stay sane and take care of your mental health so you can continue working full-time while taking care of your family.