The outbreak of pandemic has marked the dawn of parenting while working from home. While parenting is a full-time job that warrants a healthy, build-out and growth-oriented ecosystem for the child, the outbreak of pandemic has unveiled the most challenging side of it. You may find yourself sparing no effort to strike the right balance between work, schooling and having the right parenting approach simultaneously over a day’s course. Though there is no manual or shortcut for striking the right balance, below are some parenting tips while working from home to appease the hardships that accompany the blissful parenting journey in these inevitable tough times.
Before diving in, parents should keep in mind that first learnings start at home. Children pick up bits from the conversations around them, and the most discerning ones indulge in imitating their birth givers and those who spend the most time around them. Just like parents, the child keeps a watch on its parents too, grasping ever more from the non-verbal activities than the home-school they’re enrolled at. Therefore, you now have a constant determinant for the decisions to be made and your chosen conduct around them.
1. CONCOCT A ROUTINE:
Beyond the benefits of familiarity, adapting to a routine will reduce the friction between your work commitments and childcare schedules. Sticking to a routine inculcates consistency in the child’s persona from the very beginning, an important attribute. Enabling a routine also facilitates better time management by setting realistic goals. For example, if the dinner time is at 6:00 PM every evening, no other commitments should be scheduled to meet 15 minutes before it.
- Factors to prioritize: Keeping in mind certain factors like prioritizing the non-negotiable tasks, the capability of each member of the family to deliver, and keeping an open mind while devising the routine can effectively abridge the gap between maintaining the family’s circadian & ultradian rhythms and family harmony coupled with productivity.
- Keep the family routine on the run: Having a family routine that describes every member’s role for the day and bringing in rotation in each other’s task can get you to spend some fun family time all together.
2. TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN
- Your child can understand things symbolically, past and future. So don’t draw a veil on the current situation. Keeping the child oblivious is not one of the wisest decisions.
- Address the Gorilla in the room: Actively seek to engage in age-appropriate conversations. Your child does not have to know the hike in infection rate and the death toll but teach them the necessary, i.e. significance of sanitization and hygiene and reinforce those practices by doing it alongside.
- Be mindful of your kid’s reaction: Toddlers and pre-schoolers need direct care and attention. In these challenging times, the downside of being homebound can taint their mood and reveal itself by way of disobedient, unruly or impolite behaviour. Please get to the fundamental cause of it, acknowledge their worries and avoid indulging in punishments or resorting to any form of reprimanding practices.
- Improvise: Make allowance for the outbursts and engage the child to improvise the negative energies. You can do so by boosting their morale by helping them achieve set goals and making them a party to home chores.
- Making entertainment worthwhile: In the era of digitalization, keeping kids entertained isn’t a task. Aim to minimize their screentime by keeping them entertainedin ways that do not involve a screen. Foster the child’s interest in discovery activities where they are required to perceive, enquire, access, resolve problems, disintegrate, collate and take charge of things that are put to their disposal.
3.DEMARCATE PROFESSIONAL BOUNDS WHILE STILL AT HOME:
If there is no dedicated workspace at your home, now is the time to incorporate one by either squeezing in a table in your bedroom or transposing with the corner lamp in the living room or cleaning the cluttered counter or maybe get creative with the dining furniture already at your disposal. The goal is a swift transition into work mode without finding the ‘right spot for the time being.’
- Sigh: Setting boundaries for the workplace will mentally stimulate a sense of comfort and keep you driven to deliver efficiently knowing your child is playing with the blocks in the next room.
- Keeping co-workers in the loop: Another key aspect is to communicate and maintain as much transparency as possible with your reporting officer and colleagues. This will not only establish you as a team player but shall help you stick to the family routine. Being certain about happening of the next probable event will improve team dynamics, both at work and home.
- Enjoy your breaks: Don’t forget to take breaks in between. Take a stroll to the next room and give your little one a warm peck on the cheeks, utter words of appreciation to them before you get back to resume work.
4. BE REALISTIC OVER IDEALISTIC
While aiming for the sky has always been aspirational, current times demand survival and staying within the bounds of 4 walls and a roof. Though the era of globalization and industrialisation holds idealism in high regard, the outbreak of pandemic outweighs its virtue. Setting idealistic goals over realistic ones is going to aggravate the already existing stress and anxiety by inducing a sense of failure coupled with fear of missing out.
- Children mirror you: Let this be a constant thought in your mind: My child is perceiving and is intuitive about everything that I have to offer. You are in command of setting the right atmosphere and the children in a household are more in accord with the energy than anything or anybody else. A happy parent manifests a sanguine, loving and assertive child while a stressed, anxious parent leads the child to feed off the negative energy.
- Take control of what is in control: In challenging times of uncertainty, it is important to embrace our realm of control and let go things that are not a part of the realm. While parenting may feel like the toughest of all the challenges you’ve had in a lifetime, it is crucial to remember that the beauty of it is equally unmatched to any other experience that life has to offer. It is often said age is just a number and there is a kid in each one of us. As cliché as it sounds, nurturing your kid within by having a perspective shift and unlearning all that you’ve learnt in the pursuit of achieving heights is going to ease this phase a lot.
- Expect delay: Remember “Productivity doesn’t equal 8 hours”. Though structuring a day’s task beforehand can save you some time on determining ancillary tasks, it is realistic to estimate that some things can face delay despite the most calculated planning. The inconsistency with the routine can be subject to several factors like the day, the kids, other commitments, type of work, etc. Instead of expecting perfectionism, you must take satisfaction in each task you methodically mastered and commence planning for the next day with better intents and learning from the previous day.
- Embrace Imperfection:Let’s accept this – parenting while working from home is like attempting to do the work of several full-time jobs at once. If you can maintain work professionalism on a conference call while your little one screams from the bathroom that he needs to be attended by you NOW, you’re an exceptionally capable being on the face of earth.
Delivering the same task is not for the faint of heart and is an idealistic state of multitasking. For all the perfectionists who find themselves in disarray right now, the breakthrough out of the situation is to embrace the fact that there is no way to acing the job of a parent and perfectly manage life at home during this unprecedented time. Parenting while working from home is serving to add stress and exhaustion, not to mention the potential impact on your emotional and mental health. It is only humane to own your vulnerabilities and your battle to figure this out.
5. YOU CAN’T POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP
The term self-indulgence is a specific term for its whole meaning and far-reaching impact on the overall well-being of a person, especially a parent. It’s tough to devote attention to your well-being when you’re parenting and working from home simultaneously. Lack of self-care is most likely to make you feel stressed out, mentally exhausted, overwhelmed and worst of all – guilty. If you manage to take care of your spiritual, physical, psychological, and social needs, you will ingrain empathy and patience for the parent in you. It’s crucial to put aside few minutes for self-care. Love yourself even when you feel like you don’t have a single second to devote to yourself.
- Venture for your inner peace: Waking up a little before everyone else so you can have a quiet cup of tea, do your yoga and relaxing stretches for just 20-30 minutes before starting for the day can get you a long way. While yoga keeps your body toned, meditation helps to unwind the mind and steer clear of the clouds of irrational thoughts. Do more of everything that keeps you attuned to your inner peace. An underrated act is dancing to shake it off. When you’re unable to make a call for yourself, play parallel to your kids, be a part of their playdate.
- Bring in task rotation and take turns: It is an irrefutable fact that raising a child requires teamwork on the part of parents. Parenting as a team is about working together, mutually deciding on parenting, meeting of minds for decision-making, and supporting each other. Team playing ensures that everyone has time to do things they enjoy. Bringing in role rotations and taking turns can eliminate the monotony of tasks. If both you and your partner work, crafting a schedule where you’re one is the go-to parent that refills snacks and takes charge of the child, while another focuses on work without interruptions. In the next turn, you can ferry the children and spread the dinner table while your partner is in the confines of his professional ecosystem.
- Capitalize on naptime: Take advantage of naptimeby buying yourself chunks of only time. It is the perfect time to get those things done lying undone on your recreational to-do list or attend to the most critical tasks. Avoid indulging in activities that are in between the two types of tasks; prioritize yourself. The dishes can wait. Do things that you cannot otherwise do while your little one is awake, like lighting scented candles, taking time off electronics and engaging your senses. The goal is to not walk out with the same state of mind with which you walked in.
- Practice Gratitude: No amount of emphasis will suffice the significance of looking at the bright side of life. Parenting while working from home can get you overwhelmed. In times like these, you should recall the milestones that you’ve already accomplished as a person and a parent, no matter how small. Give yourself a pat on your back for working out the most complicated situations at work and home. You’re parenting through tough times; you shall get through this. Acknowledge the privilege it is to be employed in this time, to be able to work from home, and the family you’re striving to balance so responsibly.