Working remotely with kids

Trial and error, this is your life now. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t, during challenging times proves to be a task in and of itself. 

“When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.”

Whoever said that probably wasn’t making lemonade and dinner and homeschooling a child all at the same time. Nonetheless, we are all doing what we can and taking advice, at a socially acceptable distance, from friends, loved ones and online sources who claim they have it all figured out. 

Trying to manage the role of polished professional, caregiver, teacher, cook and maid simultaneously is nothing short of a miracle. We’ve taken advice from mom bloggers, stay at home moms and the majority of us who are trying this out for the first time. Here are our suggestions summarized into 3 steps to help you transition into working remotely – and effectively – with kids. 

Step 1. Effective communication
Proactively communicate schedules to everyone in the household. This helps clearly define expectations for yourself, your spouse and your children. Dasha Spann, Brunel HR and Compliance Coordinator, explains how her and her husband review their schedules the night before to coordinate who will handle homeschooling for their daughter. 

She advises to “have the schedules written somewhere in case there are any questions, then you always have a place where you can all see the schedule and any changes that come up”. 

We all know that schedules during this time may not proceed according to plan. Creating a schedule helps structure the day and manages expectations. When everyone understands what should happen, and what is expected, that helps answer the question “What are we doing next?!”.

Step 2. Unconventional schedules
If you can, ditch the 8-5 office schedule and try a more flexible approach. Based on the age of your children, you can take advantage of early mornings, nap time and late nights to find some quiet time to finish projects that require a little solitude. 

Katie Bozant, Brunel HR Generalist says that she uses the time while her son is napping to respond to calls and focus on high-priority tasks that require her full attention. 

Francis Jung, Finance Manager says it’s important to stay flexible. Francis and his wife work late nights to allow them some free time in the early morning to play with their children, who are 6 and 2. 

Step 3. Patience and understanding
These times are challenging and take the meaning of ‘patience’ to a whole new level. We’ve spoken to several moms and while their tactics are each different, one thing remains the same – we are all in this together. Remember that children and adults alike generally respond better to boundaries and structure. If you can, set, implement and communicate a schedule, which can help mitigate some of the adjustment frustrations everyone is feeling. 

Kathi Gavros, Finance Coordinator, suggests one way to relieve the stress from taking on the role of teacher, homemaker and employee is to plan ahead. “To save time during the day, we meal prep and get our kids to help make lunch for themselves the night before,” states Kathi. 

While we haven’t gotten it all figured out and again all of this is trial and error, we understand that the every situation is different but we are all in this together. Whenever possible, reach out for help to those around you or try some of our favorite online resources below.

Useful resources for children of every age. 
1. 7+7 Strategies for Working at Home [with Kids] During COVID-19 – Psychology Today
2. How to Be Productive Working From Home as a Parent – Glassdoor
3. Resources for Parents to Prepare for Coronavirus School Closures – Common Sense
4. Coronavirus Closing Your Kid’s School? One Parent’s Plan for Daddy School – MarketWatch
5. Work from home with kids – Business Insider
And don’t forget the importance of exercise for children, even if you have a shelter-in-place or the weather is bad. There’s some great indoor options the whole family can try.
6. PE with Joe – The Body Coach
7. Go Noodle– Movement and mindfulness videos