‘Muuuuum!!! Can I have a drink?’
‘Get it yourself, please. I’ve got something to finish on the computer.’
‘But there are no clean glasses!’
‘My God, what are you doing with them all? Eating them?’
‘Wait, I’ve found a jar. Will that do?.’
During the pandemic, many parents have had to work from home and mind their children. We have received so many messages from them telling us about all sorts of situations they felt ill-equipped to face. Just like in the scene above, which is a story. It’s been a chaotic time, we know. The scene above is something a colleague of mine from the office told me about.
‘You know, Patrick,’ she told me, ‘until we had to lockdown, it seemed like my life was playing out in fast forward. School days were getting him dressed, putting him in the car, getting to preschool, me telling him why he has to stay after school today even though Billy isn’t… So often, I’d get to the office at 9 o’clock and I was already exhausted.
Now see what has happened! I’d give anything to deal with my pre-Covid challenges.
Now I’m cooking 3 meals a day. I used to get away with just cooking dinner because my son ate at school and me at the office. Now I have to wash a million dishes – you’d think I was living with a whole battalion.
My work schedule has no structure and I have to snatch work time when my son is quiet. Or while he’s playing outside with the dog. Sometimes, I get up at 5 just so I can finish what I didn’t do the day before and at night, I just pass out when he goes to sleep. I’ll fall asleep with his story book in my hands.
And it’s just as frustrating for my husband. He also has reports to finish, he’s constantly on the phone, always a million things to manage remotely. And then he steps on some Lego and gets cross again…
If someone had told me a few months again that pyjamas would become official uniforms and that wearing parent, teacher and playmate hats simultaneously, while trying to be a dutiful employee-cum-self-starter…I would have laughed hysterically.’
Our lives have changed in such a short time, and, just like my colleague, our new routines come with many more challenges. And if you have more than one child, things get really fun!
Like you, I and all my colleagues have been working like this too. We get it!
This is why I thought I’d come and help you and other home-working parents who want to move forward with solutions to be fair and patient with their children, especially during this period of upheaval.
Together with the trainers in my team, I have created a series of 2-hour webinars where you can learn:
- How to make a step-by-step plan for the coming period. This will help you reduce stress and anxiety and feel more relaxed with your loved ones
- How to prevent the squabbles that flare up because of lockdown; arguments between children, if you have more than one, and that awful bickering between adults
- A few techniques that will help you to really make the most out of this time together with your child
- How to take advantage of this period to teach your child skills that will help them in life and develop a sense of responsibility
- How to organise your child’s day so that you aren’t just dumping them in front of a screen
- How you can organise your day so that you have some work-life balance
- How to develop your child’s sense of responsibility towards home-learning without wasting time.
Right now you’re probably thinking that these are exactly the techniques that you needed during lockdown. You might also be asking yourself: ‘2 hours with no interruptions? You mean, 2 hours when they are awake? Impossible…’
Well, here are 3 steps that will help you escape for 2 hours of peace and quiet so that you can take part in our webinar:
- Be prepared
Before bedtime stories the night before, tell your children what is going to happen the next day so that they know that you’ll be away for 2 hours and that during that time they will be doing activities with your partner (or their grandparents).
Doing this will mean your children aren’t surprised when you tell them you’re leaving for your webinar. Use the time to focus on learning.
- Choose together
Once you’ve explained that you need 2 hours the following day to study in peace, suggest a series of activities that they can choose from to do with your partner (or their grandparents) during that time.
Here are some ideas:
An online performance – here are some recommendations
Films for children that I recommend: Inside Out, Bigfoot JR, Wonder Park, Zootopia, Coco and Baby Boss.
Games to play at home – you have some great ideas here
Educational audio-books that I recommend – see here.
- Set rules
Once you have agreed on what you are all going to be doing for those 2 hours, set down 2-3 rules.
For example, one of these rules might be:
Nobody comes into the room where I’m sitting without knocking on the door.
Only knock on the door where I am if it is something urgent and the other adult cannot help right away.
The purpose of these rules is not to lay down the law and then lie in wait for them to break them, but to try and give you 2 hours in peace.
The current situation took us all by surprise. Us and the children. This is why patience, calm and being gentle are vital to our emotional health.
More than likely, the children will break the rules.
To try and prevent this, you can thank your children in advance for the space and time they are going to leave you.
It could be something like: ‘Thank you for letting me be by myself for a couple of hours.’
I hope that this 3-step mini-guide is useful and that we’ll see as many of you as possible at the webinar.
With love to kids and parents alike,