Many Utah parents are working from home during the pandemic, and with schools closed, they have been juggling responsibilities of parenting young children with job requirements. Now that the summer is here, for many parents, the juggling will continue for the foreseeable future. Here are some tips to make working from home with kids to go more smoothly:
Establish a daily routine to promote a sense of control, predictability, and well-being for parents and for children, said Callie Kofoed, a certified child life specialist at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
- Enlist your children’s input in creating a schedule.
- Post the schedule where they can see.
- Allow for variety & choice within a schedule to keep children engaged. It’s important to plan for “wake up & get ready time,” outdoors time, independent play time, and other activities. Limit screen time for yourself and your child.
- Give children cues to help transition to activities throughout the day, such as a fun alarm or music.
- For times you cannot be interrupted, find a fun and creative way to communicate that to your family, like by wearing a silly hat or tying a ribbon to the doorknob.
- Stay flexible and revise the schedule as needed.
- Allow grace while managing schedules. Celebrate when things go well and forgive yourself when they don’t.
Schedule daily one-on-one time with each child and give them your full attention. “Most kids will need less attention from parents when they have that time to connect and feel they have their parent’s full attention at some point during the day,” said Kofoed.
Use your work breaks to connect with your children. Have lunch, take walks, or do a household chore together.
Use technology to connect and enlist friends or family to interact with your children while you work. You child may read to them, sing songs, or show off a project they’ve been working on.
Make time for play every day. Play is a child’s language and critical for development. Even 10 minutes of play time is helpful. Spend time outside.
Look for service opportunities.
Listen to and validate your children’s feelings and concerns while providing hope and assurance that this is temporary. Children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. Reassure children that they are safe, and this will not last forever.
Take care of yourself so you can best take care of your children. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and exercise, if even for a few minutes.
Ask for help when you need it. Reach out to family and friends. If you need additional support, the Intermountain Healthcare Emotional Health Relief Hotline can help. Their number is 833-442-2211.
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