Suddenly kindergarten and schools are closed…
We are working from home…
Everyone in the family is close together for a longer period of time…
That means a lot of challenges and certain changes will follow. Nevertheless, always something positive comes along in times like this. In the following we share that the combination of home office and childcare is easier than you think.
First of all: home office
It’s no vacation or holiday. We currently just don’t work in the office. The dining table or the living room is our new office for the next time. Sounds not too bad, right? The real challenge in this equation are our children. Working at home when kids are around is tricky. Some tips will make your working day easy.
- Make a schedule for the day to be able to actually get work done and to keep the kids entertained – so everyone is happy!
- Routine is very important for children. If you have the possibility, prepare the meals the day before.
- Explain the current situation to your kids. Create a daily schedule together with them like mornings are for school exercises, where mum is in charge and dad is working. Take turns if there are two adults at home.
- Play time and outdoor activities for the whole family are very important in between.
- Also make some room for alone time. Kids can do puzzles, crafts or listen to audiobooks, while parents are able to get daily tasks done or enjoy a coffee.
- Make sure to hang the timetable somewhere on the wall or on the fridge, so everyone has a good overview.
→ By the way! It’s totally legal to include your kids in household chores 😉
Set office hours
- In order to be able to work undisturbed for a while, discuss with your partner when and who has home office time. During those deep work hours you do your meetings & calls for example.
- Good working hours are also early in the morning or in the evening when the children are in bed.
- Try to schedule the most important tasks or the ones which request more concentration before they wake up. Single parents especially appreciate that and schedule calls in the evening or nap times if it is possible.
→ By the way! The little ones can also set up a kind of teleworking office. They feel involved, are close to their parents and feel like a grown up with their own pen and paper (or even laptop).
E-Learning instead of video games
There is a way to put your kids in front of the laptop without any guilty conscience, because it’s hard to entertain them with crafts and games for weeks. However, you will also face the time when you just want to put your kids in front of the TV, that is ok in between as well.
→ By the way! A good trick is to start a movie just before an important call so you can focus!
There are also some great e-learning programs for all ages – whether digital painting by numbers, preschool exercises or other subjects for the slightly older children. Look for funny online games that reinforce learning. Fancy learning a new language for example?
Free E-Learning Platforms
- Eduthek (German)
- Kidsweb (German)
- WDR Maus (German)
- E-Learning for kids (English)
- Sesame Street (English)
- Disney Now (Universal)
- Pocoyo (Universal)
- ORF Kinder TV-Thek (German)
- Baby TV (Spanish)
Number two: outdoor activities
- We can and should go outdoors – the children need exercise and vitamin D. Depending on the country, please follow the given measures, usually a walk is ONLY allowed with family members who live in the same household.
- The sun is shining and the first signs of spring are already there. A lot of flowers are starting to bloom and different species of birds are singing. Your kids probably know some names and facts of them already.
→ By the way! If you want to know more about it and combine it with an outdoor walk, there is a great app where you can photograph the plants and identify them – a playful way to learn something new (Check out Pl@antNet or PictureThis)
- Spring on your balcony or in your backyard. First flowers are ready to bloom. Plant some early bloomers together with your children in the garden or in a beautiful pot (which you could paint colorfully beforehand). Trust me, it will right away feel like spring on your balcony!
Up next: keep your kids active indoors
If being outdoors is not a safe option or the weather is not good enough, there are a lot of possibilities to be active even indoors.
Be creative and do some crafts
Now we also have time to do some crafts with our kids. Easter is just around the corner. Let’s make some homemade easter cards for your loved ones who are currently far away. Grandparents will surely be happy to get some self-made greetings by mail. In addition, easter or spring decorations also beautify the apartment and at the same time ensure a good mood.
→ By the way! There are many great craft ideas on Pinterest. Get inspired!
Cook & bake together
Kids get excited when they get involved – especially in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter how it looks afterwards, because we have the time to clean up together now. Let’s cook something for the parent who is working all day, for example. Pick an easy and delicious menu that everyone likes and start cooking.
→ By the way! There are many easy & quick recipes for a delicious cake out there. It can be enjoyed during a picnic on the balcony or in the garden.
Muck out & clean together
Certainly a lot has accumulated at home over time. Toy boxes and wardrobes should probably be sorted out urgently. There is finally time to clear out stuff. This is not only fun for the little ones, but also tremendously liberating.
Dress up & do role plays
Kids love to dress up. You probably already have a cladding box or find great treasures when clearing and sorting out old clothes. Dive into the land of pirates, fairies or whatever you imagine. The next adventure waits at home!
→ By the way! To make this new fairytale world for your little ones even more realistic, let them build their own castle. Where? Just in the living room with the couch, some chairs and a lot of blankets & pillows.
How about: meeting friends & grandparents
Definitely not an easy time for kids, not being able to see their friends every day. Why not write a letter again like back in the days and paint a nice picture for your friends. They will be delighted if they find a little surprise outside the door.
→ By the way! In between there is for sure some time to let the kids talk via video chat with their friends.
It might also be hard for the kids to understand why they are not able to see their grandparents for now, especially when they are used to spending time with them. A new ritual could be to let grandparents read a good night story by phone or video in the evening. The kids can paint beautiful pictures or make something and send it by post or digitally, or why not have lunch together via video.
→ By the way! If someone has no grandparents there is a very nice initiative in Austria where older people read to the children every evening at 7:00 p.m: ORF Stories
All in all, try to enjoy your time at home. No time pressure, no school stress – such a “forced break” can also do us all good. Be flexible and don’t lose your sense of humor. Life is full of surprises:
Life is a lot like jazz… it’s best when you improvise”