The year 2020 has been a strange one for most people. The population of the UK is living an entirely different life to the one that we envisaged. Many people are now working from home and for those with children this may mean juggling work and childcare duties. This comes with a number of challenges, including managing your children’s needs, attempting to understand their school work and having them present during virtual work meetings.
Coping strategies during lockdown
If you are struggling to balance childcare alongside working from home during these times then try to implement the following strategies:
Lower expectations and practice compassion: this is not a normal period of time and therefore attempting to carry on as normal is likely to cause stress. Before implementing any other strategies listed here, reflect on how realistic your expectations are and practice compassion towards yourself and others in these challenging times.
Implement routines and be flexible: it is often helpful to create a plan or timetable for working from home, although flexibility is also key. If you live with another adult who is also working from home then plan out your day or week so that each of you is able to work in private for a proportion of the time. If your children take naps or have quieter times of the day then try to arrange important work activities for these times. Always remember that it is entirely normal and developmentally appropriate for young children to want your near-constant attention and you may need to alternate frequently between work and meeting their needs.
Seek support for school work: you may have suddenly become your child’s primary teacher, however, that does not mean that you will understand all of the work they have been set! Even if you understand the concepts, the skill of teaching is rarely easy. Don’t be afraid to seek support from your child’s school, other families or online resources.
Arrange your environment: don’t underestimate the importance of a comfortable chair, an organised workstation and heating or cooling as needed. Items like headphones can also be really helpful for keeping online meetings confidential when children are in the room.
Maintain self-care: remember that breaks and self-care are incredibly important. Don’t spend all work breaks caring for your children or all nap-times working intensely. Ensure that you have time for hobbies and sleep. Equally, it is important to keep hydrated and eat well. Problems with sleep or poor diet can have a huge impact on our mood.
If you are trying to balance childcare and working during the lockdown period, then it might seem difficult to prioritise yourself enough to seek support. However, if you are struggling then it is important to prioritise looking after yourself or you are at risk of ‘dropping’ your juggling balls; work and childcare. Making time for yourself and seeking professional support can be time well spent in enabling you to continue with your necessary tasks. Please contact a member of our Maromika team to see how we can help you during this difficult period by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org