Tips about working from home with kids and family

We learned in March 2020 that working with children is a great challenge. But how it can work with a few simple rules and agreements is shown in the following points.

1. Explain the situation

Schools and daycare centers were closed due to the corona in spring 2020. Suddenly parents and children were at home all day. Home office and homeschooling were the order of the day.

If there is another change of class or if children have to stay at home due to quarantine regulations, clear communication must be made.

It is particularly important that parents talk to the children in detail about the situation and explain to them what will happen in the coming days. Because only by talking, talking, talking is it possible to be together without friction. Children need time and space to ask questions. So it means more than ever: communication is everything!

2. Maintain routines

Even if the situation calls for a high degree of flexibility, parents and children should stick to everyday routines. This gives each family member a piece of structure. The alarm clock does not have to ring at 6:00 a.m. like every morning, but you shouldn't spend the whole day in your pajamas. The children, too, will start their day better and more regularly with the morning routines that they otherwise experience before going to daycare or school. Of course, compromises can always be made.

3. Plan the day

A plan is essential these days and is usually required by the children themselves. Because like in school or daycare, they need structures to cope with the new situation. It is best to sit down with the family and work out a kind of timetable.

Here, for example, times are set for common meals, routines, playing times or times when school or work have priority. For smaller children, there are also times when they can play or paint on their own.

As soon as the plan is ready, it is hung up clearly visible for all family members: for example on the refrigerator.

4. Set up a workplace for parents and children

Every family member should have a clear place to work or do schoolwork. If there is no separate room available for each person, an area should at least be set up for everyone where everyone has their work and teaching materials to hand.

5. Teamwork

Anyone who spends time in the home office with their partner can consider themselves lucky, because the stressful situations that arise are easier to resolve. For example, parents can split up the childcare time. In the mornings, one person takes care of the children and the other works in a concentrated manner and in the afternoons they swap.

It should be explained to the children when it is mom and dad time. This can be made clear, for example, by a spatial separation. When mom is at the desk in the study, she has a break to work, while dad can be spoken to at the dining table at any time and is there for the children.

6. Use afternoon nap times

It sounds so banal, but it's still a valuable tip. If the children are so young that they can take a nap, the parents can of course use this time to work undisturbed.

7. Prepare lunch

Of course it would be best to prepare lunch together with the children. In reality, however, this is often not so easy to implement. In times of home office with children, however, there will always be the situation in which one is stuck in the middle of work and then comes: "Mom, I'm hungry!"

Pre-cooked food that only needs to be warmed up quickly helps. Vitamins and nutrients are almost completely retained in frozen meals.

8. Offer employment

Boredom can be super or super stressful. Kids either get creative on their own or they grumble because they just don't know what to do with themselves.

Therefore, parents should develop ideas with the children at an early stage about what can be done in the coming time and what they would like to do. Maybe you have a project in mind that you always wanted to do? Design a cookbook, think up a play, record a podcast for grandma and grandpa or make a few postcards. Perhaps the children are also just happy to watch a film or a program with the mouse.

9. Work-life balance

Easier said than done, because when you're in the home office, you could actually always do something for work. Unlike in the office, you don't just go out the door and leave your work mountain and computer there. Quickly check emails again, write an article here, or do some research ?! Stop!

As soon as the workload for the day is done, the computer and work cell phone should be switched off.

10. Don't get stressed

It's so easy to say, but the tenth tip is probably the most important, because this time is a great challenge not only for parents, but also for children. So if the stress level rises more and more, take a break and explain this to the kids.