WITH work from home being a staple of life nowadays, parents of babies and toddlers have had to juggle being efficient at work, while meeting their children's demands. And anyone who has been around a toddler knows that perfecting this can be a mammoth task for little people who don't know the meaning of no, or how important it is to stay quiet during parents' Zoom meetings.
How do you do it? Early childhood educator Marcialynn McDonald shares these tips.
1. Establish routines
It may be difficult at first, but it's important to establish routines. It is important, especially in these uncertain times, for your child to have a schedule for the way each day will go. Regular routines — like when is lunch time, nap time, outdoor time and arts and crafts time — will help bring some amount of order to your day. You can even go as far as recognising the 'important' days they recongised on the school calendar, and dressing up and doing activities for movie day, ice cream day, crazy hat day, and the like.
2. Have cut off times for work
Working from home doesn't mean that you should be working longer hours to prove a point to your employers that you're still an uber efficient worker. Have cut off times for when work ends, and when family time begins. Take your lunch time and break times as usual, so your children don't think that your work consumes you, or that you've become a slave to your job.
3. Cut down on impromptu meetings
Don't encourage last minute Zoom meetings or calls outside company time, especially on weekends or your days off. As much as possible, encourage your employer to schedule meetings ahead of time, and even if there is an urgent need to meet, they should also understand that there may be interruptions from your children.
4. Stay connected with others
You may forget, because you're still spending time with your colleagues remotely at work, that your toddler needs social interaction with others outside your household too. But you should be seeing to their development needs still, even though you're confined at home. Virtual playdates are good, as well as virtual visits with other family members. Children are social creatures, and you want to support their social development and allow them to see that their friends and other children are healthy and functioning during this time.
5. Use the time to bond
The hustle and bustle of the world a year ago has come to a halt, but one positive thing that has come from the change is that families are now spending more time together. Encourage your children to cook, clean and do chores with you. This is an opportunity for them to learn new things, and for you to learn about their little personalities.