How to study at home with your kids running around
The coronavirus pandemic has forced schools to close across the country and we know this may be a very difficult time for some of you. While most of you might be used to studying at home with your children for an occasional sick day or short-term school-closure, some of you might be concerned about studying at home with your children around for weeks on end.
With social distancing keeping people isolated, some of you may be worried about studying at home whilst trying to keep your kids busy. This is a new way of studying for many of you and it may be quite challenging. We have created a few tips to help you juggle your work and looking after your kids, without totally losing your mind.
1. Talk to your kids about what is going on
It is important to talk to your children and try to help them understand what is happening. This can be difficult depending on how old your children are but try to explain to them that this is not a holiday and that you will have to work some of the time. Children usually understand a lot more than we think they do. So, just take an opportunity to sit down as a family and talk about what is going on.
2. Stay connected and ask for help
Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you should feel disconnected. Talk to other parents about how you are feeling, it is likely that they will feel the same. If you each have a bit of spare time you could take it in turns to create activities for your kids over video while the other is working. Maybe set up a timetable where one parent of the group organises an activity for an hour and take it in turns! This will mean you have more time to focus on your work, but your kids will be entertained.
3. Innovate and be creativeEasier said than done but this is a time where you’ll need to get creative. You might have to think of ways to keep your children entertained while you are working, or you might have to be creative with your time so that you can get work done but also spend time with your children. You could even invite your children to come up with creative ways to keep themselves occupied.
Use this time to get creative with your kids and come up with fun activities for them to get involved with. A good idea can be to create a boredom box. Fill this with fun activities that your kids can do on their own and then if, for example, you have a meeting, you can get your children to find an activity from the box. Another idea is to take a virtual tour of a museum! There are 12 different museums that offer virtual tours, all of which can be found here.
For more ideas of activities to do indoors, click here.
4. Establish routineIt is really important during this time to establish a routine otherwise things will get pretty hectic. Try to have structure to your day, for example, get up early and do something with the kids and then work for a couple of hours and then have a break.
If you have structure to your day it will also help your children to get used to times that you will be available and times that they need to entertain themselves.
It can be useful to stick to academic tasks with children in the morning when they are more awake and then try some more creative exercises in the evening when they might be tired.
Again, everyone knows this is a stressful time so your lecturers will understand if you need to move meetings around or change plans to fit your schedule. Just keep in regular contact with others so that they can support you.
Although routine will help you to be more productive when studying at home, during such an uncertain time it is important to be flexible. Try to let of the idea that there is a ‘right’ solution and be adaptable. It may be that something works well for a week and then you need to change how you are approaching things. It is a time for being realistic, flexible and honest. If you are struggling, speak to someone. It is important that we take care of each other during this time.
5. Be flexible
6. If you are living with others, divide the kid-duty
Make sure you communicate with those around you. If you are living with relatives or a partner, you should discuss ‘kid-duty’ and divide it equally between you. This will give you each time to work productively while the other is on kid-duty. This can be particularly useful for pre-schoolers. Remember, it’s a time where we need to work together and support each other.
7. Keep calm
If you are feeling stressed make sure you take some time out of your day to relax; whether it’s doing some yoga or taking several tea breaks, make sure you try to keep grounded and stay calm.
8. Be clearMake sure you are clear and direct with your children. Explain to them that you will have to work at some points throughout the day and explain what this will mean for them.
It can help to have a dedicated home office and explain to the kids that they should try not to disturb you when you are in the ‘office’, unless it is important – it’s probably best to also clarify what important is…
If you have a meeting or one-on-one during the day go to your dedicated office space or a separate room and put a sign on the door. Make sure you are clear with your kids and set boundaries.
For younger children it can help to practice this. Pretend to take a call and go to your dedicated office space and see how your kids behave. Remember to praise them if they are well-behaved and give guidance if they aren’t.
9. Invest some time with your kidsThis is the most important point. This is a confusing time, not only for us as adults but for children as well. They may be unsettled; they may miss their friends and be worried about their studies. So, make sure you invest some time with your kids. Spend time with them throughout the day and try to appreciate the time you have with them at home. Think of fun activities to do and enjoy it!
When you do have to do some work or take a call, your children might be more willing to behave if you are spending time with them throughout the day.
10. Get outside
One activity that might help your kids to get rid of some energy is P.E. with Joe, a home workout aimed at kids! Doing exercise will help your kids to keep happy, positive and energised. To find the workouts click here.
Other useful resources:
Things to do:List of things to do - chatterpack.net
Online learning resources for kids:
This is a hard time for everyone. Yours and your children’s wellbeing are the most important thing. So, if you are struggling make sure you speak to someone, whether it’s a friend, a relative or your lecturer make sure you reach out and ask for help. We are all in this together, so try to relax as much as possible and keep well connected with those around you!