Let’s Talk About Those New Co-Workers
Daycares and childcare facilities are opening and closing (what feels like daily), leaving those with school-aged children not sure what to expect in the coming months. Are we now full-time workers, teachers, entertainers, chefs etc.?
We’ve seen the parents on social media that seem to be flawlessly parenting, homeschooling, working, baking, and even working out. We aren't here to give you those kinds of tips. We are just here surviving; giving our best to our families and our jobs. With that said, we've been searching for any "hack" that will give us a little more "quality work time" while making the most out of having kids home (and if you're lucky, maybe even get some work out of them)!
I once heard at a conference session, “forget work/life balance, what you need to find is work/life harmony” and never has this term meant so much to me.
Disclaimer: We are aware that these ideas will not work for all families or all children. We understand that families have unique challenges that may not fit here. But, we hope that this will provide some help for many parents struggling right now.
Our main goal with this blog is to help alleviate a lot of the guilt we’ve seen in the media lately. We see parents struggling to balance handling education and working full-time. Of course, school is incredibly important, but we see an opportunity to give our children experiences they won’t get in school: what working hard looks like. Take this opportunity to provide them a “mini internship.” We promise they will be impressed with you!
The toddler years.
You aren’t going to get much work out of this group, but they love to be close to you. Set them up with a “desk” by yours in your office and give them age-appropriate activities. You don’t need to go out and buy a kid's desk; a simple table or a small filing cabinet with a chair will work. This is the age kids start to love to mimic you, so they will get a kick out of “working” at their desk too. Coloring books, calculators, or small whiteboards found at your local dollar store work great.
The elementary years.
This is where you might be able to squeeze in some actual work. Think of activities like matching, or grouping. Filing cabinets are a great place to start. Maybe even doing it together and putting your little one in charge of shredding could be a fun interactive activity that adds value to your work as well as giving your child a feeling of being part of your “team.”
The middle school years.
Kids are learning technology earlier and earlier these days. They may be able to help you set up an account for your business you have been meaning to do, or sort through business cards and type email addresses into a Google Sheet for a future email campaign. I attended an online CPE session recently and one parent leading the session allowed her daughter to come in during the polling questions. Her daughter professionally came to the camera to read the question and the multiple-choice selections for the participants to respond. It was very reassuring to see others looking to be creative and transparent during these times!
The high school years.
If you play this right, you might have an actual intern here. Ask your teen to research different platforms you could use to streamline your workflow. Talk to them about your processes, he or she can assist you in documenting them. They might even have an idea that you have not thought of before. They could start helping you create efficiencies here. Give them a project to write about what they know about your work. This could help your child in the long run when they must start thinking about careers, college, and the workforce.
With all of these, I’ve found that my kids respond best when they also have household responsibilities as well. They feel like they are in it with us and take pride in what they do for the family. Best of luck! They will truly understand the meaning of being “in this together.”