There is nothing more unpredictable than life itself. What used to be a plot of a thriller is now our reality. Today’s major crisis will be marked in history books as a “dark hour of the world”.
COVID-19 has taken so many lives, but it has also given us so much. People have forgotten how sweet freedom tastes, how important family and loved ones are, that health is our treasure and that tomorrow is not a promise. Unfortunately, we’ve been reminded of these values in a hard way, and the best we can do now is not to forget about them again.
Changes, whether they are positive or negative, always bring challenges along. Social distancing, a burden of responsibility for other peoples’ lives, aside from yours, struggles to keep nearest and dearest healthy, and many more challenges that we have faced for such a short period are now becoming a part of morality and rules of social conduct.
Because staying at home is mandatory, people are working from home, studying online, and spending time recovering from the outer world. Now, what should we do to keep things positive, organized, and productive for this indeterminate time? How do we keep children productive?
How do we work from home with children and how can we manage work, family, and household chores? The answer lies on the surface – plan things.
Create a Daily Routine
Some people might say that daily routine is not something that you need to think through. You eat when you’re hungry, surf through the internet when you’re bored, work when you have to, and just go with the float. This might apply to roommates, who think only for themselves.
Unlike the first example, a family is a coordinated organism, which needs to have a plan in order to live in peace. Therefore, you need a daily routine.
Here are some points to consider when creating a schedule. This way you will be able to work from home with children and save tons of nerve cells.
Hold a Family Meeting
At times like this, people have a lot on their plate. Therefore, before creating a plan, talk to your family members. Emotional state is extremely important because it is difficult to put things in order when there’s chaos inside.
Start first, talk about your feelings, open up, and let everyone speak in a row. This will help to build a bond and understanding between family members.
When having a conversation (especially when kids are involved) it might turn into a room-sized Armageddon. You need to be your own Bruce Willis and save the situation, by establishing some rules.
For instance, you can make a rule that whoever holds a glass speaks. It will help avoid chaos and give everyone a chance to speak, even the youngest ones.
Work on a schedule together
When working from home with kids you will need to make adjustments according to what each family member wishes. Of course, it is much easier to do on your own, but this is how you can build a bond with one another. Besides, children love it when they feel that adults actually care about their ideas and wishes.
In this case, by putting a child’s schedule alongside yours, a little one will get the idea of responsibility and will put more effort to complete all tasks you have set together.
Get creative when forming a schedule. You can use different colors to distinguish between plans for each family member.
Add stickers to prettify the board or piece of paper (whatever works best for you). You can also use various highlighters to mark the scale of importance of each task.
Attention span of a child
Depending on a child’s age, you can calculate the amount of time a kid can study and the amount of time it needs to rest.
A two-year-old kid can spend 4 – 6 minutes concentrated on one task. A four-year-old child can concentrate for 8 – 12 minutes. Kids at the age of six to eight years old can spend 16 – 20 minutes.
Children, who are ten – twelve years old, can study for 20 – 36 minutes. Finally, children at the age of fourteen – sixteen can concentrate on a task for 30 – 50 minutes.
Of course, each child is unique and you can’t say that these numbers apply to each and one of the kids. Many factors can prolong or shorten the time of concentration. Therefore, look at how your child does, and then you will be able to tell how much time approximately a kid needs to study.
Check our Mindfulness Activities for Kids at Home. Teach mindfulness to your kids at an early age so you can help them learn to deal with various stressors, both now and as they get older.
Give a child time to rest for a few minutes, so he or she can work productively. As we have already mentioned, children at the age of twelve and older can spend more than 30 minutes studying. They can do better if, for instance, they divide 40-minute work into two 20-minute sets with a 10-minute break between them.
Don’t forget about lunch breaks (you need them too)! Often, children take lunchboxes to school, so they can grab a bite whenever they feel slight pangs of hunger.
You can schedule lunch breaks and have them together if you can. If your working schedule is too tight, you can spend time together in the evening.
Last but not least, do physical activities or grab some fresh air! Regardless of age, a body gets stiff if you spend too much time in one position. Basic gymnastics is necessary, especially for children.
They are growing constantly, so a little one needs to sit in the right position otherwise, a child might get scoliosis and other health problems. Keep an eye on a little one and remember to do some physical activities yourself.
More Ideas to Keep Your Child Productive
Spend time together in the evening
Usually, when we come back home after an eternally long day at work all we want to do is NOTHING. Spending quality time with family is difficult because you are dog-tired, children might feel like no one cares about them and you would probably feel guilty.
Today things have changed. You can and want to spend time with family because you understand how meaningful it is. Therefore, try to have dinner together.
There is nothing better than a meal with your loved ones. Talk about your day “at work” and children will tell you about their day “at school”. After, you can play games together, watch some Netflix or read a book together.
Pay attention to bedtime
50% of strong immunity depends on sleep. Studies show that the best time to fall asleep is between 8 pm and midnight. This is the period, when organism physically restores, heals itself, and as a result gets stronger and can resist different viruses.
Therefore, create a routine, so that children could have a healthy goodnight sleep. We all know that parents always have tons of household chores left in the evening. Regardless, make sure that children go to bed early and wake up early (for children study best in the morning).
Nowadays reading news is like playing a game of Russian roulette – you never know what information you will get. Don’t forget that children spend time online as well.
Therefore, in order to avoid constant anxiety and negativity check the news only once a day. You cannot shut yourself off from the world, and you need to stay informed.
Children know when you feel bad and emotional, for they can feel it too. Stay calm and reserved in order not to startle kids, and explain the situation. They need to know why they cannot go to school and see friends.
You don’t have to go into detail or show everything in monochromatic tomes. Just decide what you can tell them and in which form to present this piece of information.
Organizing Child’s Studying and Playing Process
- Contact the child’s teacher in order to get information about lessons and materials a kid will need to study. Most schools have already created online platforms and apps, where they will conduct classes. However, if there is no plan, you cannot let a child play games and surf the internet the entire time. There are many courses online, which will keep a kid occupied.
- Depending on age and child’s capacity to concentrate on one task, create a time frame indicating time for studying and breaks. Don’t forget about meals and snacks. Find time slots where you can fit them.
- Set a new goal each week and write it down, but it does not have to be something huge. Set small goals that a little one will definitely reach. Divide the amount of work and material in such a way, that it is consistent and corresponds to a child’s possibilities and potential. This method will help a child to become responsible and perseverant.
- Help children when they need you. Difficult tasks scare them and make them reluctant to continue working. Therefore, find a few minutes to ask them how they are doing and whether they need any help.
- Ask kids if they would be interested in trying something new. Nowadays, many online courses can help acquire new skills and knowledge. Everything depends on the child’s age and level of difficulty of the task.
- Create and arrange workspace and a place where a child can play. Children should feel comfortable, so let them organize the place where they can study and the place where they can rest.
- Because you may be working from home, you can’t spend all the time with a kid. However, find a moment or two to check on a child, ask if everything is okay and maybe play with them for a little.
Check our The Ultimate Guide to Working from Home with Kids. Learn some activities to make working from home with children easier.
More Tips on How to Keep Children Productive While Staying at Home
- Privacy is important whether you are 5 or 50 years old. Children are also personalities, so in order for them to understand that it is rude to invade somebody else’s privacy, you need to be their role model. Therefore, respect each other’s privacy.
- Clean room equals a clear mind! Insert in plan some time for cleaning the room. A child needs to learn to clean up toys, books, and clothes. Help them turn it into a little ritual, so that you could forget about the “clean up your room please” phrase.
- Don’t forget to praise children. They do their best to get the task done and to live up to your expectations. Therefore, praise them and let them know that you are proud of them. This will help to build up a child’s confidence.
- Arrange activities in a way that they alternate as often as possible. A child will not get bored with the same activities. Besides, you have seven days in a week, so don’t try to fit all tasks and activities in one day. Make each day a little bit different from the previous one.
- Set limits on screen time. Set an amount of time a child can spend online and communicate with friends and relatives. You need to be adamant when it comes to this because apart from the positive influence the force of social media can be destructive.
- Remember to find time in a schedule, and devote it to your personal space (don’t choose a particular hour just know that you can have it). We are all human beings and despite our great love for family, we need personal space and to spend some time alone with ourselves. Children need some time alone as much as you do, so whenever they (or you for this matter) feel like spending some time in silence contemplating – let it be.
Working From Home With Toddlers
While older kids can entertain themselves, toddlers can’t. They need your undivided attention and for you to be ready to carry them around any time. Important meeting?
No, it does not sound as important as changing a diaper. Therefore, you need to organize your day as precisely as possible, for working from home with a toddler is challenging.
Check our High Energy Indoor Toddler Activities (To Tire Your Toddler Out Before Bedtime!). Learn how to tire your toddler to help them sleep well at night!
Become an Early Bird
Wake up with the first rays of the sun or set an alarm if it’s cloudy. If you get up early, (an hour or two before the baby wakes up) you have an opportunity to work and organize yourself. If you work better in the morning, you can do the biggest part of the work then.
It is the idea that a child has to learn to play on its own. One of the things that can help is a busy bag. These are bags of simple activities designed to entertain toddlers and keep them busy.
As soon as a child is asleep use all the time you have to work. You can use it for work, to rest a bit, or to do some household chores. It is important to keep nap time consistent because a child’s organism will get used to getting tired at a particular time and it will be easier for a little one to fall asleep.
Create a Timetable
Because of COVID-19, you can’t get a nanny or ask relatives to keep an eye on a child. Therefore, organize your time, get help from your partner, and set some boundaries and limits (if you can), when it comes to your work.
Tips to Form Habits
While staying at home, we have all resources to take up new things, acquire skills, habits, and grow as personalities. Children are especially susceptible to new things. They imbibe information and develop habits much easier than adults do.
Sometimes it is difficult to make yourself do something, because “I’ll do this tomorrow”. Forget about “tomorrow”! Here are a few tips that will help you and your kids get things done:
1. Make things easy.
By working every day for 10 minutes, you are more likely to turn it into a habit. As a result, you won’t feel pressured to do something.
2. Fill your environment with signs.
Put signs in your sight, so that you are constantly reminded to follow up on your habit. For instance, if you put a book at your nightstand, you are more likely to read it.
3. Praise and reward.
Give yourself (or a child) small rewards for achieving little goals on the road to developing a particular habit. We repeat what’s rewarding and recoil from what’s punished.
Check our Necessary activities for your child’s development. Learn the different things you need to do to support your child’s overall development!
Working from home with kids is really challenging, especially at times like this. Always remember to take care of yourself. Stay calm and put your mind at ease.
The tips above will help you put your priorities straight and help to organize a child’s timetable and as a result your own. Remember to find time for hugs, love, and warm words.
I’ve always liked the phrase “global village” because it hints at friendly relationships with one another. Today, we have faced times, when we must be there for one another, no matter who we are. Underneath labels, nationalities, and other concepts, we are just people, who have hearts, and souls.
Remember that good marches hand in hand with evil. Soon enough we will see the light claiming its right to rule. Until then stay safe and organized.
Check our How to Create Perfect Conditions for Child’s Development? Learn different tips on how you can help improve your child’s development!
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