Managing Children While Working from Home
Everyone is getting acclimated to a new normal condition of working and studying from home. Last week, we shared some tips on setting up an effective work routine. This week, we'd like to share some tips from Attention Talk Radio on managing the family dynamic when everyone is at home together.
Like all of our tips, these have an emphasis on Executive Functioning.
1) Acknowledge the stress. Kids don't have mature coping mechanisms yet. Try to help them identify and label their emotions. Let your family know about your stress as well (don't keep it bottled up).
2) Manage the stress. Get enough sleep. Build rest and relaxation into your daily routine. Do yoga. Find meditations. (Do it together as a family.)
3) Find creative ways to exercise. Throw free-style dance parties with your kid's favorite music. Play make-shift Twister. There are all kinds of fun ways to work short exercise times into the day.
4) Loop kids into the decision-making process. When you are making routines and building schedules, get them involved. Hopefully, they'll have more buy-in if they participated. Also, kids learn from modelling - so they will build their own Time Management skills.
5) Keep taking ADHD meds. Spring Break may have been a good time for a medication holiday, but now that school is back in session, resume the meds.
6) Work together. Some kids need the opportunity to talk through their work as a means to learning. Externalizing information is important for working memory. If they need that interaction, try to give them a few hours of the day when you can work as a group (when you don't have other calls or meetings).
7) Design work-break rhythms. As you work, you deplete your Self Regulation fuel tank - your energy runs low and the glucose in your brain runs out. Your kids probably cannot work as long as you can, so make sure to monitor them. Establish normal work breaks, like 15 mins on / 3 mins off or 20 mins on / 5 mins off.
8) It's okay to increase screen-time. Use screen time to help your kids stay preoccupied when you have important work meetings. However, make sure they know that it's an exception.
9) Tensions may be high. Because of close-quarters, the normal family dynamic might be strained. Be quick to apologize and have a plan how to deescalate tension. Dr. Sharon Saline recommends having one "take-back of the day" - one time when your fellow family members can excuse an unintended outburst or flair-up.
10) Do the best you can! It won't be perfect. Your boss will throw you curve balls and meetings will pop up out of nowhere and it will disrupt your day. Just know, you are not alone.