Working from home comes with challenges. Parenting children also comes with challenges. The equation of combining the two requires a special type of orchestration. Many women are navigating a new work routine. It can be difficult enough to remain motivated, focused, and stay on track when your only co-worker may be a spouse, roommate or pet. If you are a working parent with children at home, welcome to a whole new universe.
Humans are creatures of routine. Moises Roman with the UCLA Early Care & Education Department explains the importance of routines. “Schedules and routines are important for children because they need to know what’s coming next. If the schedule is consistent, children learn the pattern. Once a pattern is set children can infer, for instance, that lunch comes after music time. This way, there aren’t too many unknowns. When children have too many unknowns, anxiety builds up and they start showing emotional reactions to the inconsistency. For instance, they may cry or become irritable and take it out on other people. If they don’t have regular routines it starts showing in different ways.”
The orchestration of combining a productive work day with parenting your children at home begins to happen when you can line up your routines. Some ways in which these routines can line up are:
- Start the day going over everyone’s routines. Write the day’s routine on a chalkboard or whiteboard to keep everyone on track.
- Schedule your flexible work tasks during the parts of your child’s day when they are most self-sufficient, or after they are asleep.
- Schedule time to eat meals together with your children. This will give them not only the comfort in knowing they can expect to eat at the same time each day, but that they can expect to have your attention and talk about their day during those meals.
- If you are working from home with another adult or caregiver, stagger your routines, so children have less time they need to be self-sufficient.
Regardless of the reason you may find yourself working from home with children, there are bound to be stressful moments throughout the day. Staying calm and showing love to your child is the most important. The principal of my son’s school sent out a message to all parents recently. I find I reflect on it daily. He reminded us that kids may or may not remember what the current situation may be, but they WILL remember how the adults closest to them reacted.
About the Author
Sara Broghamer is the Chief Operations Officer of Easiway Systems, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of screen cleaning and reclaiming chemistry. She is a mother to two young children and has been navigating working from home with them for eight years.