Plus Block Scheduling Tips
Well, here we are! It’s April 2020 and most of the country has been working from home for a month. If you have small kids at home you are learning how difficult it is to juggle, work, zoom meetings, meals, showers, nap-time, homeschooling and every other work and household crisis. I really hope that you have an understanding boss and a helpful partner, because this is a lot.
I started working from home part-time when my oldest daughter was three. I wanted to be able to spend more time with my daughter while she was little. My significant other is a business owner with a demanding schedule, so running the household mostly falls to me. I was lucky enough to be able to step into a part-time, work from home schedule, which allowed me to focus on my family more. It was the right choice for me and my family.
While the situation that we now find ourselves in, is an extreme version of what I do normally, I feel like I can offer some tips to parents that find themselves working from home. I currently have a two year old and a six year old at home, all the time, and I am getting all of my work done. Here are the tips that I think can help you the most:
Find what works and make it routine. I very quickly realized that our whole day is 15,000% better when we get outside for a walk first thing. We get up, get ready for our day, have breakfast and go for a walk. On days that we can get this done everything is easy. If we can’t, I swear my kids turn all of that energy to making my life miserable… It may not be morning exercise for you, it may be letting the kids watch 30 minutes of Peppa while you check email and sip coffee. Start looking for “good day” correlations and make those activities routine.
Assembly Line Meal Time
You do not have time to be taking orders and making four different meals, three times a day. Everyone eats meals at the same time and everyone gets the same food. Decide what everyone will be eating, and when they will be eating it, and stick to it. If this is a change for your family, don’t worry, they will get over it in a few days. This will cut down on your stress and save you time, which will make everyone happy.
Communicate with your partner. I am lead parent. I have the bulk of the household responsibilities and I manage the kids throughout the day. Before the pandemic, the six year old would go to school and the two year old would go to daycare for a few hours a week. Now it’s just me. All the time. No breaks. H works 12 hours a day, six days per week, there’s no way around that. I still can’t do it all. So we worked out a system. He becomes lead parent every day after dinner and all day on Sundays. So with that time plus nap-time/quiet time, I can actually get it all done! Parenting in a pandemic is all hands on deck!
Not to brag, but I have been using a block schedule since before it was called a block schedule… The thing is, I really like routine, so I have been doing this forever. I like knowing that on “Wednesdays we wear pink”. It’s just easier that way.
Below is an outline of my current schedule. Of course, my actual schedule includes, grocery deliveries, assignment due dates, zoom meetings and specific household tasks. These are just the basic blocks:
Below is a simple sample schedule for two full time working parents. This suggests that parents divide their time with kids equally throughout the day. Each parent has a (more or less) equal share of homeschooling and mealtime responsibilities, but they also have the same amount of time to work. Weekends are much more flexible with less structure. If one parent needs “Flex Time” to get additional work done, they can get caught up on the weekend. This is the two working parents sample schedule:
Scheduling, creating routines and streamlining processes will help you get more done throughout your week. Be sure that you continue to communicate with your partner. Maintain some flexibility within your schedule to allow for exceptions. If something is not working make adjustments. Hopefully these tips will help alleviate some of the stress in this insane situation. We’ll all get through this together! Good Luck!
What habits and routines have helped you get work done with kids at home?
Check back on Thursday for May 2020 Can't Wait Book List!