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8 Smart Tips for Co-Parents Working From Home

8 Smart Tips for Co-Parents Working From Home

Published by Programme B

The pandemic has created untold strife for many, but perhaps no one has felt the crunch quite like parents now working from home while keeping their kids’ noses in their virtual books. You might not have ever considered adding “teacher” to your resume, but you have bragging rights now. 

Joking aside, you need to find meaningful ways to somehow fit 48 hours’ worth of tasks into a 24-hour day. Here are eight smart tips for co-parents working from home to make your journey less stressful. 

1. Embrace Your Local Library

If your local librarian doesn’t yet greet you like Norm from the old TV show “Cheers,” why not? The place is a treasure trove of free activities for children and has saved many working parents’ hides, especially those with limited budgets. Even if you run an elevated COVID-19 risk, many locations offer curbside pickup — place your order online, and it will be waiting for you to take home. 

You can help build literacy by getting both print and audio versions of your child’s favorite books. They can listen and follow along with the recording as they learn to recognize the printed word. 

However, books aren’t the only things you’ll find at the library. Many facilities also offer educational video games for rent. You might even find a telescope for your backyard campout-slash-science activity.

2. Make a Schedule

If you and your co-parent both work from home, making a child care schedule is crucial. If you’re separated or divorced, you may need to modify your custody arrangements to enable both of you to juggle career and family. 

However, cohabitation doesn’t mean the other party will automatically pick up the slack when things get hectic. Of the 140,000 jobs lost in December of 2020, women got all the pink slips — showing that the “Second Shift” effect still falls disproportionately on female shoulders. 

Your partner might not necessarily be a slacker, just indoctrinated into a patriarchal culture that shuffled all the child-rearing responsibility to females. However, understanding their blind spot doesn’t help you find a work-life balance. Sit down and work out a care schedule with you both taking turns helping with homework assignments and cooking meals. 

3. Get Online 

You might have justifiable concerns about how much screen time your kids have during the shutdowns. However, if your kiddo’s brain quickly processes information, they might finish their homeschool assignments early and get understandably bored. 

While you should take your children to the park and throw in the occasional educational field trip, you can’t become activities-leader 24/7. Avail yourself of free online learning resources that your kids can use as supplementary activities if they typically finish early. 

4. Assign Family Chores

If you cook, clean, teach and try to work, it’s no wonder you feel like a piece of saltwater taffy stretched to the breaking point. Your family members all eat and contribute to the mess — get your kiddos on board with weekly chores so you don’t have to do it all. 

One way to teach budgeting skills while encouraging help is to use a commission system instead of a straight allowance. Assign a dollar value to each chore, and when your child completes them to your satisfaction, they get cold, hard cash in hand. You also reduce fights over who does what with this method, as everyone selects how much they earn by what they tackle. 

5. Make a “Do Not Disturb” Signal

It was cute the first dozen times your 2-year-old smeared tapioca on your camera during a Zoom meeting. Now? It’s getting old. 

Design a “do not disturb” signal for each family member. If you have a home office, a closed door can do the trick, but those who share spaces can put on a special hat or blazer. 

6. Define Private Workspaces 

If you have a family of five learning and working from home, you probably don’t have a dedicated home office for everyone. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t define private workspaces. 

Use paint to make a study corner in your child’s bedroom. Bright colors such as reds increase concentration, which comes in handy if your kiddo tends to drift off while studying. You can also use room dividers to section off a portion of your living or kitchen areas. 

7. Adopt Outside Interests

All this family togetherness is heartwarming — but it can also cause cabin fever. Cultivate outside interests and include them on your weekly schedule. 

It doesn’t matter if you shun even socially distant activities until you get vaccinated. You can still go for a walk or hike to get away for a bit and return feeling less ready to breathe fire at your loved ones. 

8. Embrace Quiet Time

If you use your child’s bedroom as punishment, try to break that habit. You want your little ones to associate the space with pleasant, quiet activity, not negative reinforcement. 

It’s best to start quiet playtime when your child is a toddler, beginning with 15 minutes of separation and building toward longer jaunts. You can reinforce this self-soothing skill when your kiddo starts to outgrow naps — you still put them down, but don’t insist that they sleep. Instead, let them read or color. 

Co-Parents, Use These Smart Tips When Working From Home 

Co-parenting during a pandemic isn’t a job for wimps. Use these smart tips when working from home to stay sane.

Photo by Lisa from Pexels