1. Be kind to yourself
• You have many priorities; you are unlikely to meet every demand every day. Instead try and keep a record of your achievements for both business and family.
Marbles in jars, ticks on sheets, lists of tasks that went well.
Celebrate even the little successes.
• Take breaks.
Stand in the garden or at a window, look at green.
Take a deep breath and stand up, make a drink, stretch between calls. Or if you can stretch during calls (as long as others can’t see you)
• Eat and drink regularly and healthily.
Try and cut back on coffee and biscuits and try teas and fruit, or crackers, nuts etc
• Have a start and a finish time.
Get dressed for work and then relax in the evening.
Create boundaries between home and work and communicate these to colleagues.
Try and stick to normal working hours. Or explain that due to family needs you will work 9-11, 12-3, 4-6 etc. Whatever hours work for you.
2. Set boundaries for children and organise ahead of time.
• Our children have had most of their boundaries and routines removed.
Children thrive on routine. Structure allows them to feel safe and learn more successfully.
A routine enables children to concentrate on activities without thinking of what is happening next.
To them the world is appearing quite large at the moment despite the confines of a house. There are many things for them to think about, many things they do not understand.
It may feel like you do not have time to sit and work out a routine and organise activities ahead of time, but spending time organising at the start will mean less time spent organising over all and definitely less stress.
Try and organise for each day and talk your child through how the day will look, including any important calls and work you know about.
• Have a routine that children can follow.
• Start the day with some form of exercise, this will help their brain focus and their mood to remain positive.
• Young primary children will focus for between 10 and 20 minutes on an activity, do not try and push this. Older primary children and secondary age will do their best work between 15 and 30 minutes.
• In between activities children need to move, dance, stretch, run outside, learn a TikTok dance etc.
• Children need to eat around every 2 hours.
Breakfast @ 8am
Snack @ 10am
Lunch @ 12pm
Snack @ 2pm
Snack @ 4pm
Dinner @ 6pm
Snack @ 8pm
These snacks can be a piece of fruit, a cracker, a glass of milk, they do not need to be large and try and limit sugar for the sake of their teeth and general health.
• In order to allow you to work, try and find some time to organise activities. You want a couple of piles/baskets
o One pile/basket for independent activities, things your child can pick up and do independently from start to finish, especially if you are on a call. Such as;
dot to dot,
play of their choice,
lego making activities,
making short videos,
making greetings cards,
watching an online educational video,
schoolwork that you have already looked at and they know how to complete.
o One pile/basket for support activities, activities your child needs help with to learn.
Look at work set from school for the day. Try and choose an English and a Maths activity plus maybe two more to do during the day when you can.
o Talk to your chid and explain how the day will go, tell them when your important calls are, make signs to say you can’t be disturbed, let them know when you can chat, give them a timer so they can count down.
When you go into a call set the timer and say until it goes off, they do an independent activity from the pile,
when it goes off after 10-30 minutes they need to get up and stretch, run around the garden, dance (quietly) have a prepared snack,
then they can set the timer again and do another independent activity from the pile etc.
• You want to aim for around 4 hours of schoolwork a day. But in the most part, depending on your school, you can fit this is around work.
An hour or so could be completed before 9, some more at lunch and the rest in the evening, with the rest of the day filled with independent activities fitted in during work hours.
• If you don’t do 4 hours don’t beat yourself up. Your goal by the end of the day is that your child is alive and so are you.
• Celebrate their successes as mentioned above with marbles in jars, reward sheets, catch them being good whenever possible and reward this.
• If your child acts or does something that is not positive have a strategy already in mind.
o Talk to them and try and understand the behaviour, if this isn’t possible at the time come back to it later,
Put in place boundaries that your child understands that actions lead to consequences. If they disturb your meeting you will have to work later and not play with them then. If they eat all their sweets in one go, they won’t get anymore. If they are mean to their siblings, they will have no one to play with etc
So, a typical day may look like this
7am Wake and dress
7.30am Breakfast and chat about the day
8am Exercise for all
8.30am Look at schoolwork and support for 10-15 minutes.
Get children started so they can then work independently.
9am Start work with children working independently, exercise, play etc
10am All have a quick break and a snack before independent work again.
11am Support another area of learning for 10-15 minutes
12pm Lunch, more exercise
1pm Independent activities/work
2pm Break and snack
3pm Support another area of learning for 10-15 minutes
4pm Break and snack then independent activities/work
5pm Independent activities/work
6pm Support last area of learning for 10/15 minutes if needed
6.30pm Stop for the day, organise the next day and then relax
I know this is very simplistic and work generally does not turn out this way with calls and conferences being organised beyond your control. But having an idea in mind can help you fit in the important elements of the day.
Time to relax
Working from home whilst also trying to care for children is hard.
Do not heap guilt onto yourself, instead celebrate even your smallest successes and take time for yourself.
You will not be able to look after anyone or anything if you do not look after yourself.