Kids’ daily schedule can literally save your sanity when you find yourself working at home while your kids are home from school. And as I’m writing this post, most of us are contained at home for the foreseeable future.
I talk about life balance a lot on my blog and YouTube channel. But this is a very unique circumstance. We basically have to learn how to function and balance all our responsibilities when boundaries between work and life are very difficult to establish. We are combining homeschooling our kids with our work. And for some of us, our work is a full time job. You might have a type of work where you cannot simply postpone everything until your kids go to sleep. While a lot of employers offer some flexibility when it comes to the times you are working, we still have only 24 hours in a day. We have to face this change head on and find a solution that works for our families during these difficult times. And I’m here to help you with that.
Let’s go over some tips to help you find a new normal in this very challenging situation we have found ourselves in.
CREATE A SCHEDULE
You may or may not like schedules. But this is what kids are used to. When they attend schools, they have a specific daily schedule. They know when it’s time for math, reading, and art. They know when they will go outside or to the gym for recess. And they enjoy it!
So the very first thing you have to do is to create a similar schedule for them at home. It will take a couple of days for them to get used to it, but days will significantly improve. You will see less chaos and you will be more productive at work.
Here is what I’m using. Feel free to Download a FREE copy. It has two pages: one for you to print for your kids to follow and one for you to see where you and get some time for yourself. Whether that time is for additional work, self-care, or personal development.
Why divided by an hour interval?
This is a schedule that I use with my 4-year-old (pre-K) and 7-year-old (2nd grade). I divide it by each hour, because that is as much as they are able to concentrate on each area. And as you can see, within each hour they have a variety of things that they can do. That is also done on purpose, because we know that kids get bored so easily! They truly need a variety of activities.
Check out some additional tips from Erin on how to transition to school to unintentional homeschooling that we are doing right now and Heather for tips on the type of activities you can do at home to help your child learn.
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What about screen time?
I am a type of parent that rarely limits screen time for my kids. That is because there never really was a need for that. We have been pretty busy with school and after-school activities that there was not that much time left for TV.
But that has changed! They are home all day. And if I would let them, they probably would spend most of their time in front of screens. I know for sure that my daughter would be watching Frozen II at least 5 times a day. Followed by Frozen… 😉 So I became more intentional.
They are allowed to watch TV shows, play educational games, and use tablets to read books. That is all incorporated into schedule as options for them.
However, I am also allowing screen time in emergency situations. What do I mean by that? Those would be the times when I have to be on an important call and they don’t seem to be content with an activity that I have given them. Or the times when I have a deadline and really need to concentrate on work with minimal interruptions.
Let’s face it – I cannot do my job well if I am constantly called away from my office. So if I need help from technology – I will not steer away from it.
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Is there any flexibility in the schedule?
Yes! We need it. My day to day activities at work don’t look the same. And I need to keep that in mind. For example, during my lunch time, we go outside to play. And while we normally do that at noon, today my husband (who also works at home now) had a meeting conflict. So we took an early lunch to be able to have that time outside.
Since we are basically stuck at home, it is so important to get some fresh air during the day. So at lunch we go for a walk in our neighborhood and then play in our backyard.
So be flexible. Adjust as needed on a daily basis.
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One of the greatest pieces of advice I have heard from my home-schooling mom friends is to schedule meals and snack times. Something I have never done in my life!
But I decided to trust them on that one. Since they have been doing this for a while, I view them as experts on the topic.
And boy am I glad that I did! They actually are sticking to the schedule and don’t ask me every 10 minutes about a snack! This one I’m definitely keeping even after they go back to school. So if you want to minimize food related interruptions during your work day – incorporate all their meals into the schedule.
Allow Family Time in the evenings
Since we have to work during the day, our kids might feel aggravated that they cannot play with us. Even though we are sitting right next to them or in the next room. So one of the things that we are doing is allowing for some extra family time after the work hours are over. If you don’t finish all your work, I would suggest getting back to it after they go to sleep. Or at least taking a couple of hours for family and dinner time before going back to your work.
This will probably be most challenging right now. Why? Because we will be multitasking during the day. Out of pure necessity! Since our kids are home all time now, we will be interrupted throughout the day. It’s unavoidable.
If you have read my previous posts, you know that I follow a specific morning routine. I get up at 4 am and practice Miracle Morning.
However, right now I’m a taking a little break from that to adjust to the new normal. I still get up at 4 am and do my workout. This is my non-negotiable. I feel that getting my workout done in the morning keeps me energized for the rest of the day. But instead of doing some personal development work, I start my work projects. This is the best time for me to work on the challenging tasks, as I know I won’t be interrupted. So I get those done first thing in the morning.
It allows me to lower my stress level because I don’t feel rushed throughout the day. And no matter how the rest of my day goes, I know that I have already taken care of my priorities.
It is also important to have some time to unwind and relax at the end of the day. Even if you only have a few minutes to read a chapter of a book or take a bath. Definitely spend more time on self-care during the weekend but don’t forget about your well being during the weekdays as well. And most of all take care of your mental health. The next few weeks (or months) will be challenging for us, so make sure you take care of yourself. Check out Red Hot Mindset to help you mentally prepare for our new normal. You need it to stay sane and take on another day in this crazy life we are living now!
How are you doing right now? Do you have any tips for other working moms how to find more balance in our new normal?