Working parents are facing significant life changes as they navigate the triple duty of being a parent, teacher and working professional. DHG’s Parents Professional Network (PPN) Common Interest Group uncovers the challenges of working from home (WFH) with children and offers helpful solutions for working parents to thrive. All PPN members, Skye, Rachel and Srinidhi share their tips and insights for WFH with kids.
What are some of the biggest struggles working parents face today?
We work in a rewarding yet demanding industry and as working parents, the challenges we face are real. Our children depend on us and when they are at home, we strive to be “all in” for our work team and for our home team. Here are some of the struggles we face:
- Juggling focused work while keeping our children engaged during the day
- Finding the childcare to fit my family’s needs
- Staying involved with kids’ school assignments to help them learn new material or find online school resources
- Enduring your child’s decreased social interaction with other children which creates a desire for more interaction from parents
- Experiencing increased stress and anxiety about school re-opening plans
- Living and working in a confined or smaller space while children are nearby
What solutions or tips have you found helpful during the pandemic WFH with kids?
We are all facing varying work and life situations so keeping communication open with your team and coach is important. If someone is feeling overwhelmed or in need of flexible work options, have that conversation with your coach, HR manager and team. These practical tips will help parents thrive through WFH with kids:
- Reach out to family or a neighbor to ask for support, even if for a few hours.
- Find specific tasks for your child’s age group such as starting a garden together or working on an easy craft.
- Be open and honest with your family to map out a routine and plan for your work schedule. Strive to maintain that daily routine.
- Send your spouse or significant other calendar invites for important meetings to block time when you need help with children.
- Structure time for your children to play outside each day.
- Investigate and sign up for a children’s virtual music or activity class.
- Incorporate quality family time into your routine.
- Coordinate with other parents for virtual play dates or group activities for kids.
With some parents facing virtual school at home or a hybrid school schedule, what insight do you have for DHG parents to be successful as we head into back to school season?
At the outset, it is important to accept the reality that this period is challenging for us all, and we are not super-humans who can manage it all. Working parents, communicate clearly to your team about the need for flexibility so that expectations can be managed. The following insights will help us all as we work with team members who have kids at home or if you are a working parent:
- Be understanding of team members; they may need extra time to respond.
- Talk to your children’s teachers to inquire about flexibility with assignment due dates or optional material. Have a conversation with teachers about the need for flexibility.
- Block a time each day to talk to your kids about what they need help with, so you are there for them. Trust them, have confidence in them and encourage them.
- Schedule student learning/coaching time vs. working hours. Kids do well with their school routines during the day and request flexible working hours with your coach if that is a need.
- Kids are facing tough times as well. We need to consciously make efforts to talk to our kids about this pandemic and how their learning methods are affected. Talk to your children about their feelings, thoughts and needs and keep communication open.
How can we find strength and celebrate triumphs as we parent and involve our kids?
Give yourself extra grace in an imperfect world and different working environment.
Teach gratitude to your kids. Be thankful for all the good things in life. Think of the positive opportunities this situation has created. It is also very important to show children that it is okay to feel frustrated or exhausted, but we pick ourselves up, focus on positive things and take it one day at a time.
Plan joint family activities together. Cook or bake some favorite dishes with your kids, involve them in meal planning or grocery list preparation. In this way, we are keeping our kids engaged, spending time with them and having fun!