By this point in the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have figured out how to make a work from home situation work. Some parents have taken a step back from work so they can spend more time with their kids. Other couples have managed to adjust their schedules so that one parent can work while the other is on childcare duties. Many parents have hired a nanny to help with essential childcare tasks.
No matter how you have managed to fit work into your day during the pandemic, there’s still another challenge—finding ways to spend meaningful time with your children.
Most of us have spent the last several months trying to survive quarantine and the pandemic. Now that it looks like we are in this for the long haul, it’s time to think about how to spend quality time with our kids instead of merely going through the motions day in and day out.
We have some suggestions to help you give your kids the attention they crave so you can master the balancing act of working from home and enjoying quality family time.
Kids of every age need attention and care from their parents, especially during tough times like the pandemic. Even the most well-adjusted kids will have some fears and concerns, and they will want to turn to their parents for comfort and guidance.
Here are five things you can do to support your children and demonstrate your love for them as you navigate this challenging time together.
1. Put aside one-on-one time every day
During busy times, it’s essential to schedule the most important parts of your day. Set aside time during the week to spend with your child one-on-one. It doesn’t need to be lengthy—even 15 minutes every few days is better than nothing. Review your schedule to see where you can fit some extra bonding time in your day. It could be early in the morning, at lunch, after dinner, or anywhere that you have some downtime.
During that time, put away your electronic devices and let your child decide what to do. Some ideas include reading a book, playing a game, building something with Legos, putting together a puzzle, baking, cooking, or just chatting. Let your child know when their special time with you is for the day. That way, they will have something to look forward to and will be reassured that, no matter how busy the day gets, they will have a block of time focused on them.
2. Help your kids stay connected with friends
You might not want to socialize with other families, but that doesn’t mean you need to be completely isolated. Help your child stay connected with their friends and family members using teleconferencing apps like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, phone calls, and even old fashioned letters.
It’s easy to forget the impact that being suddenly removed from their social network can have on our kids. Finding new ways for them to stay connected can help them feel like they are part of the larger world. You can even arrange virtual game nights with other families. Pictionary, Charades, and Heads Up! all work well for a Zoom-based game night with another family.
3. Schedule one night for family time
Put aside one night a week for family time. It could be the same night every week, or it could vary depending on what you have going on in the household. Whatever you decide, make sure the entire family is aware of it so everyone can block that time off from work and other activities.
Spend this time playing games, watching a movie of your child’s choosing, putting together a puzzle, or doing some other activity as a family. In today’s busy world, it’s more important than ever to mindfully set aside time to have fun together.
4. Encourage independence through chores
With the kids home, now is as good a time as any to help your kids learn important skills that will help them live independently. And by that, we mean it’s time for them to do some chores.
It might seem counterintuitive, but kids love doing chores because it means they are involved in running the household. (This is especially true for young kids—tweens and teens might have a different take.) Even if you have a household staff to help with the main aspects of cleaning and caring for your home, giving your kids a few chores to do throughout the week can help them learn essential skills that will encourage their independence. It will also give them something to do with their time.
The Spruce has a great list of age-appropriate chores for kids ages 2 – 18. Younger kids can help with chores such as putting away toys and cleaning up small messes. Older kids and teens can help with more complex tasks, such as putting away laundry, emptying the dishwasher, and even making meals. It might take some time initially to show your kids how to do their assigned tasks, but it will pay off in the long run. The more your kids can handle on their own, the easier it will be for you to manage your household! Additionally, they will feel a sense of accomplishment for mastering a new task or learning a new skill that will benefit them in the future.
5. Involve them in decision making
Giving kids a say in household decisions can help them feel more connected to you and the household as a whole. Start asking your kids for their opinion before you automatically make a decision, and really listen to them when they respond.
Kids can be surprisingly insightful, so you might be surprised to hear what they’re thinking. Even if you don’t follow their recommendation, they will appreciate being asked for their opinion and being taken seriously when they offer it.
We know how important it is for you to spend quality time with your kids. @Ease offers several estate staffing and childcare services designed to help families manage their household so they can spend more time together. Check out our website to learn more about our services and get matched with an exceptional provider today!