Effective Work from Home strategies – Part 1

Part I – Let’s make our children self reliant
Work from home while our children are @ home full time is certainly a difficult situation. It is important to talk to children about what is happening, at an age appropriate level. Though some children may not understand what the current situation is but they should be informed that we are all working for the community.
We must consider two major points:
• One is to design children’s time constructively so that you could work those hours peacefully
• Second is setting boundaries to make children understand that though parents are present at home, they have got to do their office work also. You will have to invest time at work and they will have to work out few things on their own in this period.

Family meeting with children :
Children may not understand what is going on and only see that you are limiting them in ways that don’t seem reasonable. Let your kids know that you have certain tasks that you must complete, and that you can’t take frequent breaks to help them.
 Communicate their role very clearly
 Give them responsibilities which they need to complete in a given time
 Consider their interest level while allocating work
 Keep a good mix of tasks of their likes and dislikes. This will be a vital learning of life.

Plan child’s days:
Organizing the child’s day around our work time can be helpful in creating an uninterrupted work time. However the plan should include engaging activities and planned screen time to keep them busy.
The major focus while doing this should be considering the children as part of the whole plan. So the family meeting should not only give them a set of instructions but also focus on valuing them as individual.
We parents must utilize this situation to make our children self reliant. The focus should be to stretch their limit.

The ‘Engagement Plan’ of children should include: Academic+ Creative+ Daily Chores. This increases a sense of responsibility among them and they feel valued.
 Make a complete time table for children
 Include school work as well as supplementary activities
 Planned screen time available (keeping the content study and research oriented)
NOTICE: They work alongside with you as if they were coming to the office with you. (The effectiveness of this may vary, depending on your children’s ages and needs.)
Engagement Work plan for the day:


 Breakfast on time
 Daily chores: Watering the plant/ dusting/folding clothes
 Shower and getting dressed
 Given assignments to do at home


 Daily chores: Set the table for lunch
 Have lunch
 play video games with friends remotely/ book reading
 A quick nap ( at every age it gives safe time for you )


 Daily chores: Have some snacks
 If possible: Encourage them to make some non fire snacks & everybody can enjoy
 Mini craft
Different activities for different age groups:


 Naps, swings, bouncy chairs
 Shows or videos of poems, cartoons
 Listen to songs

    Toddlers through elementary:

 Favorite shows and/or related online games. .
 Educational games and apps

    If they’re older:

• Reading, writing stories
• Educational, positive, or inspirational shows or movies
• School platforms
• Craft activities
• Check our earlier blog for more activities
While some parents are looking to home school schedules and sharing lists of online activities that are temporarily waiving subscription fees, others are removing the caps on screen time
Use your children’s naptime to your advantage
 If your kids are still taking nap, then you’ve got an hour – or two or three – of uninterrupted time to focus.
 Make sure you save this time to complete tasks that require your full attention.
 Schedule calls or work on a challenging project while your kids are asleep.
 Then complete less challenging or low-priority tasks when they’re awake.
 Even shift working will come very handy for children of this age where one parent could be available for the child always.
 Keep your colleagues also in loop to share this plan so that even they could accommodate the calls/ video calls as per the plan.

    Below 5 years

If your kids are too old for naps,
 Use the “quiet play time” every day at the same time.
 Some parents have a special box of toys and books that only come out during quiet play time. The kids get to play with these special toys, and the limited availability keeps them fresh and interesting.
 Treat this time like ‘gold time’ and use it to focus on your most important work.
 Resist the temptation to put the house back in order during naptime or quiet play time. You can clean up the house when your workday is over.
NOTICE: Despite your best efforts, there will be days when things don’t go as planned. This is where flexibility in our approach is essential. You might have to finish up your work after the kids go to sleep, or early the next morning before they wake up.

    5 years and above

This is the age of habit building and children should be encouraged to create positive habit. There are multiple researches, highlighting that the kind of habit being set at this age, exist for life time.
 Give them a list of household activities such as :
o Gardening, folding clothes, setting the lunch and dinner table, dusting, cleaning the table post lunch and dinner, cleaning the table mat
Set Rules
Set the rules very firmly and follow them as well. In the family meeting explain them very clearly.
 Closed door: Explain that when the door to your office is closed, they have to knock before they come in.
 There could be time slots where you ‘do not want to be disturbed’ at all. That means they can’t even knock on the door, slide a note under the door, or text you with any questions.
 Also, explain that once the official time is over, you’ll come out and check on them but until that happens, they need to either wait for you or solve the problem themselves.
Reward good behavior
Setting rules and following them would need a lot of monitoring. Working from home will create the most unwanted situation i.e. when the child very energetically interrupts you in the most important client meeting.

Be prepared for it…use all the techniques to calm and keep your temper in control. Take a deep breath and you may need to excuse yourself for a very short time. Quickly go to instruct the child to buy time but in few cases you need to deal with the problem.

After completing the task having a detailed discussion (not scolding) with the child is imperative. Explain how you felt about the whole situation as it impacted your work and would not like him/her to repeat.
As an adult we often underestimate the understanding level of the children however if the right kind of communication is used, over a period of time, they certainly respond appropriately.

When your kids don’t interrupt you, reward them
After doing so much of hard work a child should be rewarded if they have not interrupted you.
o Give them lots of praise, and thank them for their help.
o While older children may not appreciate the gesture as much, they might appreciate extra video game time.
However we should take this opportunity in setting some positive parenting rules as well. One of the major aspects is redesigning the reward system in family.

Usually rewarding in our families are always associated with buying expensive items such as video games, accessories or dinner outside but we could replace this practice with simple ways of rewarding. The new rewarding system could include …
 Hand written thank you note
 Session of applause
 Enjoying the favorite dish of the child
 Naming a recipe on the good behavior
 Capturing the situation with a creative collage
 Spend some extra time with them and read a book or play a game.
NOTICE: Yes, these rewards sound remarkably similar to bribes but it’s a very heavy work for a child to control the temptation of not meeting their parents knowing that they are in the next room. So they deserve a reward for this.
Follow a strict routine and set specific work hours to be more focused, more alert, and more productive.

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