As the global crisis continues to spread and cause self-isolation, we thought it would be extremely helpful to provide the Ziglar Family community with the top 5 tips to survive working from home during a crisis.
We’ve used these strategies to get through the day without losing it on our spouse or children. Well, at least not completely losing it. 🙂
#1 Work in Shifts with Your Kids’ and Spouse’s Schedules
It’s beneficial to tackle workdays by setting up “shifts” (aka, scheduling per parent) in the scenario where you and your spouse are stuck working from home with your kids present.
It becomes chaotic and unproductive when parents are using one-on-one defense with kids because neither parent is working to get something done.
It also won’t work well if parents are trying to half-work — for example, the entire family is in one room with one hand on their laptop and the other turning pages of a textbook — it can cause marriage tensions and upheaval with the kids.
Try looking at your schedules and split the day into shifts. This might be with you working the morning and your spouse working in the afternoon.
Here’s a cool tool to help plan your work shifts and more:
#2 Make this Time Meaningful with Each Other
No one planned for this forced work-from-home schedule or non-stop family time due to a virus and mandated quarantines —therefore, it’s here whether we wanted it or not.
Try to make the most of it. Maybe sit down and have lunch with your family throughout the week —and talk about the peaks and valleys of what is going on in the world and tune in to each other’s feelings.
When you’re not working your shift, try to do more than coexist with your kids. Look at downloading new family activities, get out the board games, or bake a cake together —like a delicious chocolate cake on Wednesday afternoon —even if you’d rather be glued to your phone or the news.
Either way, set reasonable expectations and do what works best for you and your family.
Speaking of activities and games, here is a cool list of some of the best resources for families (especially during the Coronavirus).
#3 Create a Daily Routine that Works for the Whole Family
It’s proven time after time that having a daily routine makes kids feel comfortable and secure because they know what to expect. How specific you get with your daily schedule depends on how old your kids are. For the younger school-aged kids, try dividing most of the day into timed blocks filled with activities they can pursue independently. For example:
- 7 am: wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, do morning chores
- 8:30: drawing, textbook assignments, reading short stories, puzzles
- 11:00: “quality” screen time (favorites including Youtube for Kids, Brainpop, or Adventure Academy, an iOS app)
- 12:30: lunch
- 1:30 pm: quiet time in their rooms
- 2:30 pm: free play or “P.E.” time —including some time outside in the backyard or front if they understand social-distancing
- 3:30 pm: Finish leftover assignments or activities (sent online from teachers)
- 4:30 pm: “quality” screen time
- 5:30 pm: regroup as a family and start making dinner
This might be considered a fair bit of screen time (which is why it’s an example) but try making electronics your co-helper during those downtimes.
Remember that we’re all alone together in this global crisis and don’t fixate on having a perfect schedule… it’s important to be flexible. Once you try this new schedule, it’ll be important to make adjustments that work for the whole family.
#4 Plan and Prep Snacks and Meals In Advance
This has been super helpful to many parents who are working while juggling their kids at home.
Normally, for example, meal prep is done the night before and a morning snack would be laid out before they go to school and before your work begins, their school lunches already packed, and an afternoon snack would be ready when they got home from school.
Maybe your family is not this routine or organized but that doesn’t matter because perfection is not the goal here. Not having to drive them to school or yourself to work can be in your favor.
In fact, you can use that time in the morning to lay out a snack for later and get a head start on lunch. Whip up some sandwiches, put glasses of milk in the fridge, set chicken nuggets out on plates, etc.
Keep it simple!
#5 Get Dressed In Proper Clothes!
Maybe you already do this but if not, try not to stay in your pajamas all day. Getting properly dressed allows your mind to transition from relaxing-mode to productive-mode.
Staying in your PJs all day could make you feel blah and like you can’t keep your day productive and successful for you and your family.
During these work-from-home days amidst your family, try to make the mental note that you might not accomplish as much as you like, each day nor be the parent you wish —and that’s totally ok!
So, take a deep breath, take it easy on yourself and remember that you’re not alone. Look at each day with gratitude and take it each day at a time.
Most importantly, embrace this family time and make your own memories within your own home —while staying safe and healthy!