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Working from home with kids

You’re working from home. You have at least one child. Maybe more, and of varying ages.  The home-schooling routine is “interesting” – some of you have cracked it, others are planning how big a hug they will give the teachers when they’re allowed to see them again.

And in the middle of this new teaching job that you’re doing your best in, but are no doubt unqualified for, you also need to work.

Here’s our take on how you can work from home with kids, whilst also home schooling them.

Lock your door and use your core when working from home with kids

A family captured hearts around the world when kids decided to take part in a TV interview about a very serious topic.  It was initially watched 36milliion times.  Ellen dissected the “Kid-Interrupted” video on her show and actually gave some pretty good tips to those of you who will be having more and more Zoom or GotoMeeting chats with your clients and colleagues.  The video was funny enough, but Ellen’s take on it was hilarious.

Plus, the other viral video doing the rounds is of someone who could have followed Ellen’s advice too. Poor Jennifer and her epicZoom on the Loo” Fail

So – Ellen and Jennifer teach us to:

  1. lock the door

  2. use a stiff arm

  3. wear slippy socks

  4. use your core

  5. go to the toilet first. 

Tip: Spend 5 mins getting to grips with your video meeting tech. It’s super simple – you can share your desktop screen / hide yourself, mute yourself / and obviously bear all! And train your kids too – or perhaps get them to train you!  That’ll give them something to do!

Routine to keep them keen

There’s a lot of content online about how a working from home routine is crucial. But for those of you who are not routine based at work, home schooling kids whilst working from home means creating a perfect routine is a big ask.

Plus, if your routine is like many which is: get up, go to work, work, go home – and perhaps have the odd break, then trying to convert this into a working from home routine isn’t viable.  Kids need more breaks than adults, and they have a shorter attention span than we do!

Summit Medical Group tells us that

A normal attention span is 3 to 5 minutes per year of a child's age. Therefore, a 2-year-old should be able to concentrate on a particular task for at least 6 minutes… (Note: A child's attention span while watching TV is not an accurate measure of his or her attention span.)

Perhaps you have a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old? They’ll be “quiet” for max 25 and 40 mins… barely enough time to answer a few emails!

So, you need to be realistic with your routine when working from home with kids. Your mind set is key. You still need to get the job done but you need to manage your own expectations, and your kids’ expectations. 

Tip:  Get the kids to work with you on the working from home routine.  All of you need one. Start the day with a “scrum” and get them (if they can) to write up their own routine with you.  This is a great way for them to take some accountability for their day.  It will also ground you to the realities of what you can actually do with their short attention spans.

Tip 2: Depending on what age your kids are, could you get them Zooming their friends for homework sessions?  Plus, could you work with your friends’ kids via Zoom.  Some types of school work are perfect for this – spelling, reading, maths - take some of your friends’ heavy lifting and vice versa.  This is a great idea if your kids are better behaved for other people too.

Reclaim the game

So many offices have funky breakout areas and game zones now.  These are there to help with mental health and wellbeing.  Burnout is prevented by the odd session of Loonacy, Exploding Kittens, Throw Throw Burrito, or Table Tennis.

Not all games need to be as involved (or lengthy!) as Monopoly, or Game of Life, so stick to short, speedy games to help with your routine.

Tip: Agree when game time is as part of your daily scrum.  Get it up on the notice board and stick to it. Get your kids to understand that it’s “game on” at that time, and this is a reward for the time they have given you with your day.

Tip 2: Have fun with your kids during this time – you’ll never get it back.

About the author

Fiona is an Associate Director within our Call and Contact Centre specialism and is based in Edinburgh. She is Mummy to Bella, 8 and Max, 4 and currently working from home with them in tow. If you are looking to add to your team or looking for work, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.  

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