The country on lockdown has meant that many are now juggling working from home with looking after children. Any childcare arrangements previously in place aren’t an option as schools, nurseries and childminders have closed and extended family members, such as grandparents, are no longer able to help out due to self-isolation.

I’ve been working from home for a while but have always done so whilst my children are cared for at school or by their grandmother. The last few weeks have been a learning curve, to say the least, instead of having a nice quiet home to work in 5 days a week I now have my husband working from home with me and two four-year-olds to entertain.

It’s not easy and horror stories of children gatecrashing important video calls or decorating the house in felt tips / flour / face cream whilst parent’s backs are turned are all over the internet. We’ve not had any major disasters, if you skip the time we found the kids naked in the sandpit…the irony was neither of us were working at the time! Here is what we’ve learned so far…

Have a schedule…

We’ve worked out that it’s easier to take it in turns to work and look after the children. I get up early and work until lunchtime. I then take over with the kids so my husband can work. We all eat as a family so that once the kids are in bed we can get on with some work again. I’ve found it is much more effective to be able to dedicate myself 100% to my work, even if it’s for a shorter period of time

Screen time rules have gone out of the window…

I don’t know about you but it’s exhausting for everyone involved to be constantly trying to think of fun, creative things do. Our kids need a bit of downtime in front of a film or iPad and there are some great resources that are educational as well as fun…fitness classes, maths lessons, and authors reading their books. The best bit is I can enjoy a hot cup of tea and 5 minutes of not doing anything

You don’t have to always be making memories…

I’ve seen a lot of social media posts about all the amazing things you can be doing with the kids to make memories during this time. Great, if your kids are interested and you have time but we’ve not put any pressure on ourselves. All I ask is that my children remember this as a time when they felt safe and secure at home with their Mum and Dad.

Look to outsource any tasks that could free up some of your time…

Finding solutions to keep your business and home lives running with minimum disruption are important. What if someone else was managing your emails or creating presentation decks whilst you spent an hour helping the children with their school work?

Communicate with your clients

I think the big thing here is that you are not alone. It’s not that you have chosen not to arrange childcare, there are no options. Let those that need to know what is going on at home, what your limitations are, and how you can make things work. This is not a normal situation and I’m sure very few people will expect you to work as though it is.

Give your kids time

Finally, and most importantly, give time to your kids to help them understand what’s going on and listen to their fears. My children are too young to really understand what’s going on but are upset that they can’t see their family, go to school or see their friends. We’re finding lots of extra cuddles and kisses are key!

And if all else fails…drink coffee and plenty of it!

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