Currently, I’m working from home for a little bit before going on ‘furlough’ from my job on the Government 80% wages.
My wife, who is the Content Editor at Bump, Baby & You, usually works from home anyway but now we have the added presence of our three year old son, Max. I am really glad that I can now work from the comfort of my home too, and be safe with my family away from the risk of the covid-19 virus, and my wife is really glad that I am home as together we’re able to find activities for Max to do and enjoy each other’s company at the same time.
However, it is hard, I won’t lie!
Children just want their mummy and daddy, which is totally normal so tantrums are to be expected. Some children simply do not understand why you cannot do things every 30 seconds for them when you’re mid-sentence in a work email but you just need to go with the flow. Luckily employers are being very understanding at the moment as it cannot be helped so all we can do is work as hard as we can in between keeping the kids happy.
My tips for anyone else in the same position:
Pack a lunch in advance for the next day
This saves time preparing and cooking food for your toddler and makes it more fun for them. It also gives a sense of normality if your child usually has a packed lunch at school.
Make sure you have loads (and I mean LOADS) of activities ready:
Our favourite at the moment is sticker books, they’re cheap and Max loves them. We have also purchased a cheap sand pit, sand pit toys, a trampoline, some new books and art materials, and so far these are keeping Max happy as well as his favourite Japanese Youtube videos.
Appreciate your fortunate situation
Even if your child is playing up, stop and think how lucky you are to be able to continue in your role working from home. Furlough at 80% pay is a great option and we are lucky, but it is 20% less pay. Being able to work your hours from your sofa or dining table and get paid normally is something that not many of us can do, and something self employed people who are mechanics, plumbers or electricians etc cannot do. Just stop and think; yeah, this tantrum is rubbish but it could be worse!
Don’t worry about specific lessons
It is good to try and cover certain things that your child is learning – we do phonics with Max every day. But don’t be stressed out about covering everything they would be learning in school or nursery. As long as your child is entertained and the things you provide for them are in some way educational you will be fine.
Trackies, hoodies and slippers are your new best friends.
Try to get outside every day
We are only allowed out for one form of exercise a day under the new coronavirus guidelines so make the most of it. Just be sensible and avoid crowded areas – go for a walk, a bike ride, walk the dog, go to feed the ducks. Stay away from other people, wash your hands, and stay off play parks as the virus can live on metal surfaces for a few days. Let your child run around as much as you can as it’ll tire them out so that they have a good night’s sleep – a nice empty field or woodland area is a great place for this.
Also, if you have garden space, take full advantage of it if it is secure and safe! Things like patio chalk, footballs and sand & water tables are relatively cheap and lots of fun.
Keep calm and carry on
I don’t like change very much but this cannot be helped. We just need to crack on with things now. Working from home with a child with you is never ideal but it’s doable, we just need to accept the situation and make allowances where we can. It will all work out in the end!
Written by Toby Hodgkins.