If you are working from home this summer while your child is also home, you can find yourself in a situation where they are constantly demanding your attention at a time that you really can't give it. You are constantly torn and this leads to you having Mummy or Daddy guilt, and your child feeing frustrated that they aren't getting the attention they need. You are spreading yourself thin. Sound familiar?
I get it. I've worked from home since I left teaching in 2017 so I know what it's like. After many summers of juggling work and parenting, and LOTs of practise during the Covid lockdowns, here are my recommendations for helping your child to become independent while you work.
By making it very clear to your child when they will be able to have your full attention, they know when they need to get on by themselves and, most importantly, they can see that their independent time is not all day - it is going to come to an end.
This chart simply uses a backing board and your choice of visuals. You could include photos as well if you wanted.
Get the entire family organised.
I don't know about you, but life feels easier when I've organised the entire family! This isn't just for me though. This is another way of showing your child when you are working, and when they can have your full attention.
If your child is constantly asking questions about where everyone is and what they are going, then using something like a Daily Family Chart answers their questions, leaving you to crack on and finish your work so that you can spend some quality time with your family.
If you have more than four family members, just get in touch and we can add an extra board for you.
Do you find your children get bored and then just want to turn to screens because they can't think of anything else to do? Do they often forget about the many games and craft activities they own because they are away at the bottom of a cupboard somewhere?
You can show them their options using a Choosing Board. It's a gentle reminder of the many things they could do, and it encourages creativity and play. Plus, if you insist they only choose something from the board then hopefully they won't get into something that you don't want them to without closer adult supervision. (For us, it's the acrylic paints!)
Letting your child choose from a range of options lets them feel in control and gain from the self-esteem that independence brings, while you can get on in the knowledge that they've chosen something you approve of.
I'm not suggesting any of this is easy - my children aren't tiny anymore so they are able to get on by themselves to a certain extent. I know that this is a lot harder when your children are younger.
No matter what age your children are, though, communication is key. Communicate your expectations for when you are working, and communicate when you will be finished and can give them your full attention. That way they know what to expect, have a sense of control and therefore feel calmer and happier.
Calm, happy kids = a calm, relaxed family.