Welcome to the new world of coronavirus-quarantining, where we are all home, all the time. While many of us have worked from home for a day or two in the past or regularly work from home while the kids are at school, few of us know the challenges of working from home with the entire family present (and begging for snacks). As this new era dawns, we’ve compiled some tips on how to make it through the days.
Make a Schedule for the Whole Family
Since all schedules have now been disrupted, it’s imperative we make your own. Write down how your family will progress through the hours, including times for reading, schoolwork, watching TV, outdoor “recess,” and meals. Then have a family meeting every morning to make sure everyone knows the rules.
Create an Office for Yourself
If you don’t already have a home office, designate a room or even a nook as a place where you can be quiet and work (or just breathe). Announce to your family members that you are not to be interrupted there.
Block Off Your Time for Work
Block off a chunk of time on the family schedule and make it the same time every day. When you are not working, make sure that you are present so everyone knows the difference between working and not working.
Get Dressed As If You’re Headed to the Office
While many of us who work remotely stay in sweats and PJs until the kids get home, it’s now more important than ever to shower and put on real clothes when you start your day. We have to be functioning grown-ups for our kids—or at least look like them.
Carve Out Time with Your Spouse
Many are predicting that the coronavirus will lead to a baby boom—as well as divorce. Try to carve out some 1-on-1 time with your partner, when the kids go to sleep, before dinner, or early in the morning.
Have the Kids Help Around the House
With everyone home, there’s going to a whole lot of mess. Have the kids help as much as possible—cleaning bathrooms, unloading the dishwasher, making beds, folding laundry. Even if chores haven’t been a part of your household before, now is the time to assign duties so it doesn’t pile up.
Prep Dinners Ahead of Time
It’s easy to spend a good portion of your days making meals and doing dishes. Instead, try to prep ahead for dinners. Freeze meals for nights when you won’t feel like cooking—again (didn’t you just make breakfast?!). And even though they aren’t going to school, pack kids’ lunches in their lunchboxes the night before.
Stay in Touch with Friends and Family—Virtually
Use FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom to “see” friends and family. Isolation is going to take a toll on everyone and it will be reassuring to connect with people you know and love. Make an effort to reach out.
Schedule Evening Entertainment
Restaurants and theaters may be closed, but you can still have relaxing and creative evenings. Have dinner in bed, come up with a new recipe, watch a kid-friendly documentary, or turn off the lights and have a dance party. And then wash your hands, again.
Shana Liebman is the features editor of NYMetroParents. She’s a writer and editor who has worked for magazines including New York Magazine, Salon, and Travel & Leisure,—and she is the mom of two energetic little boys.
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