Working from home with a family
We are using the support recommended by the NSPCC for this section: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/support-for-parents/coronavirus-parents-working-from-home/
If you're working from home with children, it can be difficult to find balance and feel productive. Speak to your employer about flexibility and if it's possible to work different hours. But remember, it's important for you to not overstretch yourself and take care of your own mental wellbeing. Make sure you know about family friendly policies that can help spread the load.
Find a suitable place to work while being close to your children to supervise them. Having a set work space helps all the family to know you're working. Take regular breaks to rest and relax. Whilst it's important to have routine and structure, be prepared to adapt and be flexible to suit your family needs.
One of the biggest challenges can be supervising children appropriately. Some older children can be left on their own but younger children and babies cannot. When your children need you, take time off and return to your tasks later. Give yourself permission to take care of your family and don't feel guilty for doing so.
Planning your family's day
Home is very important right now for working, learning and spending time together. But you don't have to turn it into a school. Don't put pressure on yourself to create the perfect curriculum or fill every hour with schooling. Be mindful of what you see on social media and remember that every family is different. If you're struggling or finding things challenging for any reason, reach out for support and help.
Talk to your children about how they'd like their day to be structured and how that might work with your own responsibilities. Encourage your children to talk about their interests and passions and think of ways to incorporate these with learning. Reassure your child their school and teachers are there for them. And that they'll carry on teaching them - but just not from school. For teachers, we have advice on undertaking remote working safely.
- Be playful and creative through play, art, music, dancing and singing. You could have a look at some of the fun ideas and activities on Twinkl. As well as KS1-4, they have early years, English as an additional language (EAL) and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) resources.
- Encourage your child to practice their handwriting, spelling and grammar by writing a letter to friends or family members.
- Read new books or try some of the fun crafts for sale in our online shop. All profits help us protect children.
- Exercising together is a great way to expend energy and stay fit, healthy and reduce stress.
- Cooking can be a great way to use practical maths skills like fractions, ratios and time.
- Keeping a diary can be good for practicing writing skills and mental wellbeing. The Unworry book from our shop is an activity book to help calm your mind.
- To help children look forward to the end of social distancing, keep a bucket list of all the people, places and activities your children are missing and look forward to having fun ticking them off when the restrictions are lifted.
Keep in touch with friends and family
Technology can be a great way for children to keep in touch with friends and family and can help with feelings of isolation and anxiety. It can also help take pressure off you as the main carer when you're trying to work. You could:
- set aside regular time for video calling to create a virtual classroom or playground
- schedule a reading hour where a family member or friend listens to or reads with your children
- have younger children draw what they've done each day and share their weekly diary on a video call.
Additional External Support
Sharing your worries will help you feel less anxious or stressed. It's important to look after and be kind to yourself and know you're trying your best in an extremely challenging situation. Tell yourself that you're doing a good job. And seek support from your friends, family or colleagues when you need it.
Use online resources to help plan your child's day and take some of the pressure off yourself. Read advice from organisations who are there to support you and your family:
- Resources for autistic people and families [National Autistic Society]
- Coronavirus and support for deaf children – information for families [National Deaf Children's Society]
- How can we best support children and young people with their worries and anxiety [Emerging Minds]
- Home learning resources [Chatter Pack]
- Coping practically and emotionally during the Covid-19 outbreak [Family Lives]