In the wake of COVID-19, working parents are embarking on a whole new world of juggling their careers with caring for (and homeschooling) their kids—with no help, end date, or escape. Do I sound dramatic? Between the stress of a global pandemic, one roll of toilet paper left for four people, the evil that is ten-frame subtraction (why can’t we just carry the one, people?), hourly living room battles that rival those from Braveheart (but worse—because siblings), and the need to get at least seven hours of work in (and who are we kidding—most of us work way more than that), we’ve got the perfect recipe for a total breakdown.
So what’s the solution? Challenge your kids to a game of hide-and-seek and don’t come out for five hours (we all have our secret hiding spot)? Start happy hour at noon? Curl into a ball and sob? We at Vault have some better advice—read on for our tips on balancing your work and kids as you do your part flattening the curve.
1. Create a Schedule for Everyone.
With multiple people’s priorities and tasks to balance, it is important to have a schedule for each member of your family. Individual schedules will help you understand each person’s workload, priorities, and potential conflicts. Consider these steps in making the schedules:
- Review your child’s assignments. Figure out which tasks can be done independently and which require adult assistance. Organize the work into a digestible schedule that your child can follow on their own. (Include breaks for snacks, play, reading, exercise, etc.)
- If you have a partner, discuss their work schedule, how many hours are required of them a day, and what times of day are best for them to work. Some people may be required to be “on” from 9 to 5, while others may have more flexibility to complete work during “off” hours.
- Keeping in mind your child’s schedule, develop daily schedules for you and your partner (if applicable), so that you each have set working hours, share child-care responsibilities as needed, and are both available for any work calls or deadlines.
- An example schedule for you and your partner may look like the below. You can customize the schedule to work for your needs, and you can switch spots each day based on each of your work demands.
6 a.m. – 9 a.m.: Partner 1 works; Partner 2 handles breakfast.
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Partner 2 works; Partner 1 works next to kids as they complete schoolwork and helps as needed.
12 p.m. – 1 p.m.: Lunch
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.: Partner 1 and Partner 2 work while kids watch a movie or shows.
3 p.m. – 5 p.m.: Partner 1 works; Partner 2 spends time with kids or works next to them while they complete additional schoolwork.
8 p.m. – 10 p.m.: Partner 1 and Partner 2 work after kids have gone to bed.
by Mary Kate Sheridan for Vault.com