Are we back here again? It seems like just yesterday that schools and restaurants were closed and we were doing a lot of home workouts. Despite the progress in the last year we are nearly back to square one.
As a working mom, I have to admit that I’ve really enjoyed the change to working from home. It cuts out my commute time (over an hour per day) and allows more time with the kids, even if I’m just passing through the living room for snacks. Sometimes they interrupt my zoom calls to show me what the card they made for me, or come crying when someone hit someone, but I’ll take those moments to be closer to them and see them grow up. It puts me at ease knowing they are nearby, and I don’t have the stress of running out of the office at the end of the day to make sure I see them before bedtime.
That said, having them home ALL OF THE TIME in a lot, especially when I need to work. I have a few tips for keeping things sane at home in the midst of all of this...‘togetherness.’
1. Create a schedule for the kids
There is tons of research on kids performing better when they know what is expected of them, and it’s the same at home. If you know their zoom call time with their teachers, build the schedule around that. Create a schedule that includes both movement and quiet time. Maybe it’s dance hour, ‘be an explorer’ around the house for 20 minutes or book reading time for 30 minutes. Even over the summer a schedule can help to ease the monotony of screen time. Break the day up into bite sized age appropriate chunks and then post the schedule. When my kids were too little to read, we’d spend 10 minute going over the schedule at the start of the day.
2. Schedule time into your calendar too
Depending on the age of your kids, the need for hands on time may be different, but all kids love it. During the school day, maybe Mommy can schedule 30 minutes to teach Math and Daddy can take 30 minutes to teach English, or maybe it’s an hour to bake something or half an hour to exercise together (we love the Born to Move, the kids dance videos from Les Mills). It can be tough to work these bits of time in your schedule, but blocking off a bit of time each day to spend with the kids can help everyone feel more focused.
3. Make weekends special
Since we aren’t able to go out and do things as a family on our days off right now, it’s tough to make the weekends feel different from the weekdays. We create a schedule for the weekends too, although much looser and more opportunities for free play. When the restrictions were really tight, we had themed weekends with games, snacks and movies around a certain subject, which gave us all something to look forward to.
Mamas- we can do this! It’s ok that our houses may not be as clean as normal, or we aren’t making as much progress on our novel. We are managing our jobs and our little people, while staying safe. That’s already a full plate, and you are doing great.