As the coronavirus continues to spread and a third of the world population is under some form of a lockdown, we find ourselves trying to juggle work commitments, parenting and domestic life all in the same space. This prospect can be daunting but let’s just take a minute to breathe and reflect. The situation is nothing we have experienced before, but we can make the most of it. Instead of searching for that illusive balance of being a perfect parent, an outstanding employee and a domestic god(dess), try to find harmony and embrace the precious extra time you have with your family.
Create A Flexible Routine
Creating a new flexible routine to accommodate everyone’s needs will help you and your family preserve a feeling of normality and purpose. Be creative and use all hours of the day to fit in work, homeschooling and leisure. Early riser? Maybe you can fit a couple of uninterrupted hours to focus on your most critical tasks early in the morning while everyone is still asleep. Needed for a conference call? Encourage your children to learn to play independently, read a book or make some popcorn and put a film on. Extra screen time is okay, leaving a non-critical email for tomorrow is okay, ordering a pizza for dinner is okay.
These are extraordinary circumstances and not everything will be perfect. Be kind to yourself. We’ll all need time to adjust and find new ways to work, parent and live our lives.
There are countless apps and tools that you can use not only to organise your day, but also to automate routine tasks and free up some extra time to spend with your family. Veco’s automate processes, for instance, can carry out tasks set by triggers and schedules without you having to do anything. For example, applicants for both sales and lettings can be sent automatic welcome emails once being registered onto the system, weekly or daily property matches or price change notifications.
Explore Educational Tools
There are many apps, games and programs that combine fun and learning. Explore the wealth of educational tools out there and find the ones that work best for your children. Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson, parenting influencers also known as Mother Pukka and Papa Pukka, recommend TedEd. Small educational Ted Talks for kids that they can watch while you work. They also love Reading Eggs, an app that uses online games and activities to make learning to read fun and engaging.
Orchard Toys’ educational games are great as well. They teach not only maths and spelling, but also practical life skills like telling the time and using money for example.
It is also crucial to make sure your children are receiving the daily exercise they deserve and need. Join Joe Wickes every morning at 9am for daily PE sessions or try Cosmic Kids’ yoga videos for children.
Incentivize Learning… And Working
Get creative, incentivizing learning doesn’t have to sound like a bribe. If completing a task earns you a treat then both you and your children are more likely to get it all done. For example, you can label your family’s favourite snacks with credits. The kids earn the credits through schoolwork and chores to earn the treats. Isn’t this an ingenious way to incentivize learning AND make the snacks last!
Communicate with your partner, your children and your boss. Let your family know when you need peace and quiet to have a conference call or a few hours to finish a project before a deadline. Maybe your partner can entertain the kids, or an older sibling can look after a younger one.
Be honest with your managers and try to schedule your video calls and meetings around your family life. If you think they’ll be near impossible, suggest regular communication and instant messaging apps like Slack. We are all in the same boat, so most employers will be understanding, especially if they are parents themselves.
TedEd – Small, educational Ted Talks for kids
Reading Eggs makes learning to read interesting and engaging for kids using online reading games and activities
BrainPop is an engaging tool that offers educational topics across all disciplines and allows both parents and children to be part of the learning process. They are offering free access during school closures.
Duolingo gives kids (and adults) the chance to learn a new language.
Twinkl provide teacher-created resources that can be used at each step of a child’s learning journey. You can find a daily timetable to support home learning during the social distancing period.
XtraMath helps students master addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Quick Strike Math is a fun, challenging app that helps children and young students with mental math. It is available both on Google Play and App Store.