Times are hard right now; we get it. Especially for a parent who works from home. Can I be honest with you for a moment? A little part of me was hurt when I got the call from my kids' school saying that they'd be closed for the entire month due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
First, I was filled with feelings of hurt, then anger and confusion, followed by panic. After realizing that I'd have to provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for my kids for an indefinite amount of time, I panicked. Now I know why people were emptying out the grocery stores. It wasn't because of fear of the virus. It was for fear of not having enough food to last the duration of this pandemic. Here are a few ways you can continue to work and keep your kids fed and occupied during the quarantine.
1. Lock the snack cabinet.
If your kids are anything like mine, if you don't lock the snack cabinet, the snacks will diminish on day one. Limiting their junk food intake will be key to your family's health and survival during the quarantine.
2. Create a meal plan.
It doesn't have to be fancy five-course meals, but having some sort of meal plan will save you time and money. Check out My Living Logical for easy meal planning ideas.
3. Make pre-portioned snack packs.
Take an hour and build a few pre-portioned snack packs for the kids. It doesn't have to be foods you've made from scratch. Just something you've put together that can be enjoyed individually throughout the week. Get a package of snack-sized bags or small portion containers. Divvy up fruits, cheeses, and crackers (or whatever you'd like); and write names and dates on them. Place them somewhere your children can get to them without asking for your assistance.
4. Make snacks easily accessible
Ever tried placing a hanging shoe rack in your pantry? It'll not only save you time but space as well. You can also create a designated snack bin or drawer in your pantry or refrigerator.
5. Create a daily schedule/checklist for your kids
Chore charts and daily checklists are everything! Print this free Daily Checklist and get started. List everything from routine hygiene and schoolwork to daily fun activities.
6. Create an activity plan.
Pinterest is a great resource for all types of fun interactive and solo activities for all ages.
7. Time block your work schedule
Create a schedule that will work for you and your family. If that means working a few hours at the break of dawn or after your children are sleeping, do it. Divide your work between active and non-active family hours. Side note: If you block out long breaks (half an hour or so), it will minimize the interruptions from your children while you work.
8. Schedule conference calls or videos during quiet time.
I know what you're thinking; when are my kids ever quiet? If nap time is not a thing in your home, create a quiet activity like watching a movie, backyard play, journaling, or whatever else will keep your kids in a relatively quiet state.
9. Be realistic about your work goals
Unless you have a hard deadline you need to keep, give yourself some grace. Know that everything is not going to go as planned. Allow some flexibility in your day, you're going to need it.
10. Be patient and positive
This situation is new and uncomfortable for everyone. All of our routines have gone out the window, making way for a new normal, at least for right now. Be patient with your children and your spouse. They may not understand the difficulties of being a work at home parent, especially when everyone's home.
Lastly, take breaks during the day. Go hang out and do an activity with your children. Show them that you love them and care about their well being during this very foreign time. It's hard for them too. Your attitude influences your children's mood. Embrace the suck, it'll be over before you know it.
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