The pandemic has not been easy. There are many, many challenges that families are facing and dealing with together. Many metro-Atlanta area schools have gone to online learning in response to the coronavirus pandemic. That has created many new challenges for parents who are having to work from home. Not only are you having to support your kids as they do online school, but you have to juggle work and home responsibilities. Here are some tips for balancing work-from-home, kid care, and online school.
Juggling work-from-home and online schooling in Atlanta
1. Be open with your boss and team.
If your kids are going back to school, that creates a whole new set of challenges. You might need to adjust your schedule, or you might need to make some changes. We are in a crisis situation, so hopefully your manager will be understanding and willing to work with you. If you don’t reach out to your manager with a request, you’ll never know if they could have helped you out. Everybody’s in a similar boat, and your boss might very well be accommodating if you need a bit of leeway. Let them know that you’re still dedicated to your job and the company, and be realistic about what you can commit to and what you can do as navigate work-from-home and online school for the kids.
2. Enlist the support of family.
Even though you might not be able to have visits with the grandparents or aunts and uncles, is there a way you can schedule video calls with them? For example, maybe one of the grandparents can video chat with the kids to help them with their math homework. Though they might not be able to be there in person, your extended family can still lend a hand by video calling – whether they’re helping with homework or just occupying the kids so you can attend a meeting without interruption. And besides, that gives your kids an opportunity to have some social time. They can stay connected with their family.
3. Create a schedule with your family.
It can be really helpful to plan out a schedule with your family. That way everyone knows what everyone else is up to. Don’t forget to include time for breaks. You need some time to have a breather, and it might make you feel better if you’ve allotted a specific time to have a break and check on the kids to see how they’re doing. Have set meal times together so you can catch up. Routine is great, and it also gives you the chance to have some interaction so no one feels too lonely – that can happen if you’ve been working or doing schoolwork alone all day.
4. Make sure everyone has their own space.
Everyone needs to have their own place to work. You need your designated work-zone and your kids need theirs. So, set up your workspace and create a mini home-office for your kids. Stock it with the school supplies the kids are going to need. If your kids are old enough and you feel comfortable closing the door to your office space, you can reduce distractions. Peace and quiet are important for kids and grown-ups alike.
5. Think about how the kids can help around the house.
There’s a lot of housework that probably needs to get done. Are there little tasks or chores your kids can do to help out? Maybe you can create a sticker system for good behavior for your younger kids. Can your older kids be encouraged to pitch in? Everybody needs to pull together during this time. All the responsibility for housework doesn’t have to fall on your shoulders. Try to come up with a fun way for the kids to do some chores (suited for their age, of course). It’ll keep them occupied, at any rate.
6. Re-prioritize tasks.
With the current situation, it’s really important to evaluate which work tasks are essential for your job. These are the things you are going to have to balance and juggle along with taking care of your family. Sure, you might have been able to get more done at the office, but this is the new normal for the time being. You have to find the balance. So, check on your deadlines. Find out what items are still top priorities so you can devote your attention to those things. And if you need to call on a co-worker for assistance, you can make sure you’re asking for help on those things that are really, truly necessary.
7. Take care of yourself.
This is a really difficult time. You need to be able to take care of yourself. That means eating well and taking care not to get dehydrated. Try to get plenty of sleep and have time to relax. Manage your stress with things like meditation. You’ve got to look after yourself to keep your energy up so you can juggle work-from-home and caring for your family.
8. Be good about communicating.
You also need to be good about communicating with your family. If you’re not letting them know what’s going on, frustration might build up. Share your thoughts sooner rather than later. Be sure you’re letting your family know about what’s going through your head.
Work-from-home and having kids doing online school can be a huge test of work-life balance. This is a really tough time for a lot of people. But remember – we’re all only human. Be kind to yourself. Juggling is not easy. You and your family are in this together.
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