Published on
26 March 2020

As a result of the Coronavirus, thousands of parents around the country are facing a new reality of spending a possible three months working from home.

A daunting task for even the most seasoned among us.  ​​​​​​To help you out, we asked parents from across the charity to provide their top tips for working from home. 

Keep surprise ideas in reserve

Keeping the kids entertained is a crucial part of any working from home strategy. We’ve actually written a post all about how to do it (link). One of our members of staff suggested the very crafty idea of not revealing all the entertainment options in one go, of keeping them in reserve and ‘playing them’ only when necessary. 

Also not throwing all your ideas into play now; keep most of it back for when the novelty wears off...Good luck all!

Nicola

Voice and Influence Team, mum of 1

Split the day up

As opposed to following the same working pattern as you would in the office, think about splitting your working hours into chunks e.g. early morning, nap time, after bedtime. (Un)surprisingly, you might be most productive when everyone is sleeping! 

Having that flexibility helps manage the pressure sometimes.

Samara

Digital, mum of 2

Start early, finish early

Similar to the tip above, now that you’re no longer in your usual office environment, you have much more flexibility to decide when you work. A suggestion we received was to start earlier and finish earlier. 

This is working best for us as a family currently.

Lucy

Fostering, mum of 1

Use a traffic light system to manage behaviour

With no school teachers in sight, you want to make sure that your children are still on their best behaviour. An excellent idea we received was to use a traffic light system. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Create a poster with 5 circles from top to bottom - like a traffic light but with extra circles
  • From top to bottom, colour them: gold, silver, green, yellow, red
  • Create a name badge for each child, and start them on green
  • Move them to different circles throughout the day depending on their behaviour (gold is the highest level of privileges, red is when the child is engaging in problematic behaviours)
  • The goal is to motivate the child to control their own behavior in order to earn rewards and privileges
  • The focus is not on punishment, instead it is about reinforcing the child for behaving appropriately
One way to keep from total anarchy descending into the house.

Heather

Business Development, mum of 2

Heather is documenting her experience of homeschooling her children via her Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjcstlzmz0A

A basket of books 

Sometimes you’ll need your children to entertain themselves without direct supervision. One staff member has created a basket full of books, activities, pens and paper that keeps her daughter occupied while she cracks on with work.  

She can move from one activity to the other without needing direct assistance.

Nicola

Voice and Influence Team, mum of 1

Use technology

The tactical use of technology can be very helpful when working from home as a parent. It doesn’t always need to be colouring-in books and getting fresh air in the garden. We can’t always be that wholesome! If you need them to sit down for a couple of hours (think: that big conference call), plug them into a screen and get your work done in peace. 

I’ve been using some great educational apps like Teach Monster to Read, Hairy Phonics and programs such as Number Blocks and Alphablocks.

Nicola

Voice and Influence Team, mum of 1

Draft in the teenagers

If you’ve a teenager or two, then you are not alone! Conscript the teens and get them to help with the child care. This can be a life-saver if you need a hand with keeping an eye on the smaller ones. You could also use their extra pair of hands to help with household chores e.g. tidying away, hoovering, emptying laundry baskets. Some might struggle with the second part, but that’s a completely different blog post.  There are also chores that children of all ages can help with - nurseries and schools often have them participate in simple cleaning and tidying, so this could be a good way to introduce the same kind of structure to their home life. 

Mine has been fantastic with mucking in.

Isla

Analyst, mum of 3​​

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