Juggling family life
Many parents are now juggling the dual role of homeschooling and working from home, or simply doing their best to keep young (or older) children entertained. With playdates, trips out and grandparent help off the table, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and isolated at this time.
We have compiled some practical ideas below to help support parents who may be finding it difficult to find a balance right now.
Keep things simple at home
Try not to place unnecessary pressure on yourself. Keep housework to a minimum – no-one will be dropping in or judging you! Plan ahead for meal-times and if possible, find time to batch cook and freeze meals for a later date.
For those teaching children at home, a schedule may help to organise your day and keep track of daily tasks. If you are struggling to engage younger children, there is valuable learning to be had in simple activities such as lego, baking, sharing a story or playing a board game. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s teacher with any concerns.
Working from home
Many parents are facing further pressure of fitting their working hours around their family, from home. If you are struggling to find the balance, have an honest conversation with your boss and explain how you feel. There may be flexibility around your working hours, or an option to take annual leave, unpaid or carers’ leave.
Look after yourself
Minimising stress is vital at a time like this, so try to take some time for yourself. Simple pleasures such as going for a run or walk by yourself, reading a magazine whilst you put a film on for the children, or a long hot soak in the evening, will give you a chance to restore your energy levels and focus on your needs.
Make use of the wealth of live-streamed lessons and groups online, such as morning PE by Joe Wickes and afternoon maths classes with Carol Vorderman. There is help available for parents too, such as the Family Lockdown Facebook group where fellow parents post tips and ideas to help others during this period of isolation.
Enjoy the outdoors
It’s important to balance out the screen time by staying active and getting outside together, whatever the weather. Consider a long walk, family bike ride or a scoot around the block each day to exercise, clear your head and get some fresh air.
Keep calm and carry on
Try to reinforce normality for children by continuing with regular routines and hobbies as best you can, such as sports sessions in the garden or online coaching to replace weekly clubs. Steer clear of watching or listening to the news with your children if you sense they are anxious, and keep conversations away from the virus.
Keep in touch
Encourage children to call friends and family regularly to chat and share news. Mums and dads don’t forget to check in with fellow parents to support each other, share tips and Netflix recommendations! We are all in the same boat and are doing our best.
Take the time to reflect on the things that you might, under normal circumstances, not have been able to do, such as daily exercise, time in the garden and talking on the phone instead of messaging. Try to relax and enjoy all the extra family time you now have.
Wear pyjamas all day, read together, do jigsaw puzzles, make a den, bake a cake, look at old photos together, play loud music and dance around the living room. This might be a time your children remember for the rest of their lives so make lots of positive memories!