7 ways to engage your child while working from home
Since March 2020, working from home and homeschooling became the new norm. If you are a parent on the path to accommodate this into your lifestyle long-term, you aren’t the only one. It is estimated that 25-30% of the global workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.
To accommodate the new norm, you’re probably doing your research into how to make the best out of this new lifestyle. You might be looking into how to engage your child in learning and day to day activities, while you work away on your laptop. As a mother who is focused on my child’s education, I’m here to help.
My name is Sara. I work remotely, on a farm in the middle of a forest with my family: my husband, my son (17) and daughter (13). Isolation and working remotely are not new to me and I’m here to share a few tips based on my experience:
#1 Explain “the why” when setting rules
If you haven’t already, it is helpful to set boundaries with your family, while working from home. Make sure to explain ‘the why’ behind each rule. Make it clear to your child why this boundary is helpful. For example, we’ve agreed with my daughter that when I’m by my computer, it is my work time and I am not to be disturbed because it helps me concentrate and be more productive. Similarly, when she is by her computer, I do not disturb her in order to allow her to focus on school time.
#2 Get dressed
While it’s very tempting to keep those pyjamas on: don’t. Given that staying home most of the day is the new reality, it’s important to draw a clear line between the “working me” and “resting me”. This helps internalize whether you’re working or resting in that moment. This also sets the same boundaries for the family: mom in jeans and a blouse means she is working on something important and needs time for concentration, mom in her pyjamas means she’s ready for some bedtime reading and hugs.
#3 Take regular breaks
Being a parent requires an immense amount of energy. Don’t skip breaks. As they say before the plane takes off: “put the mask on yourself before you put it on the child”. It is key to maintain a level of energy that you can give back to your family. A great way I found to manage this is to take regular breaks. I recommend taking quick moments for yourself between meetings. Try to put your phone aside and grab a coffee or tea, go on a walk or do a quick stretching exercise.
#4 Eat lunch with your child
Use lunch as an opportunity to take care of yourself and your child. Make sure you nourish your body with the right food so you have the right amount of energy for the rest of the day. Take this as a moment to reflect with your child, show your care towards them.
#5 Check in on school regularly
While juggling both your own work and the needs of your child at home can be challenging, I’ve noticed it can get even more overwhelming if you don’t have regular check-ins. Ask your child regularly about how school is going and how you can help. I’ve noticed that tackling quick problems throughout the day or in the evening can be much easier while they are fresh in the mind of children. This way you can avoid the accumulation of pressure of unresolved challenges. Also make sure to bring up the topic of school regularly to create a connection. Let your children know you’re open to support them in their challenges.
#6 Actively listen to your child
Communication is key for a productive and caring relationship. Not everyone will actively voice their feelings, especially when challenges arise. Ask children questions: how their day is going, what they are looking forward to, how they are feeling, if there’s anything they want to chat about. Once they respond, actively listen. Make sure to really get in their shoes in order to understand and genuinely connect with them.
#7 Do creative activities together
Once you are not in your “school time” or “work time”, I recommend to schedule in activities you can do together. Mix it up with creative, helpful and educational activities. It can be family chores, which are not as fun but important in nourishing discipline. Most importantly, plan for creative moments together. Activities can include baking or using a tool that sparks creativity. My daughters’ and my personal favourite is the imagiCharm by imagiLabs. She gets to code a design on her phone and then showcase the result on her shining imagiCharm. This type of activity helps engage with the child in an educational and entertaining way.
Posted by Sara Andreasson
ImagiParent, Testleader (IT), Mother of imagiGirl Mira