Work From Home: How to bifurcate your time to imbibe good habits in your children

Updated: July 20, 2021 12:44 PM

Most kids don't have the cognitive skills to organize their schedules independently until they are older and hence require guidance on planning and prioritizing their time.

educationEncourage your kids to entertain themselves and keep themselves busy, but help them manage their time wisely.

By Raghav Podar,

Between fixed online classes, homework, activities, and just time to play, there’s a lot to do. In a work from home setup, you often feel like working in the early morning or late nights while your children are sleeping, especially when you need to focus on multiple tasks. It might be a prudent way of time management for working parents, but for kids, it is surreal to see you prioritizing your on-screen schedule over them.

Most kids don’t have the cognitive skills to organize their schedules independently until they are older and hence require guidance on planning and prioritizing their time. Teaching children strategies of time management from an early age helps them internalize the process, which sets them up for lifelong success. With young children, you’ll need to focus on their needs, or else they might feel neglected. But suppose you have an older child that can take on some extra responsibility. In that case, you can set them up with some self-explanatory instructions and activities for taking care of younger children or completing household chores.

Being suddenly thrown into the New Normal trend of working from home with the added stress of a raging global pandemic, the expectation to virtually school your kids, and the mental exhaustion, are bound to take a toll. It is essential to realize that working from home is challenging not only for you but for kids too. They are homebound at an age when they do not even know how to express their feelings of critical boredom, and loneliness is taxing. The situation is new for them as well. Their entire world has been upturned, making things confusing and complicated and overwhelming at the same time. To make things harder, they don’t understand your unavailability even though you are at home. Your kids only know that you’re home -Yay! It’s playtime! It’s snack time! It’s read-a-book-for-the-100th-time or bug Mom to play games on her phone again time!

Depending on your situation, you may find that you’re suddenly faced with juggling house chores with office work, parenting, and even schooling simultaneously during the day. Sometimes a simple point of view can help us manage things more healthily. Don’t let your kid feel neglected with you being physically around them, but take a quick walk around the block, read a few books together, or have a family dance party in the kitchen. Even just a few quality minutes spent with your kid away from work can have them feeling refreshed and surrounded. This will further aid in refuelling happy hormones of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins, which develop healthy mindsets of children to enable development of higher order thinking skills.

If your kids are school-going students, parents should take this fortunate opportunity to model how to make the kids successful. Help them be punctual by planning their daily schedule, setting up a good workspace, and establishing goals for the day or week.

If possible, do not opt to be a permanent home-schooling parent- it’s likely your school-aged child will be attending some form of virtual school. It’ll be great if they get to interact with their peers and a teacher, even though virtually. The point is your child still needs and has a teacher, and importantly that teacher isn’t you.

Your job is, of course, your priority, but aiming for a brighter future for your kid is non-negotiable. Support and encourage them in learning, but don’t get into over-explaining fractions or subject-verb agreement.

Ensure that the child has the required space to work with technology and supplies they need, but don’t supervise them every moment. Let the teachers do their jobs while you can do other things to keep your child involved.

Technology isn’t always a bad thing. There are several online resources to help keep kids busy and shape their learning. There are movies to keep your toddlers engaged while you work next to them on the couch. It can be an excellent activity to keep you both occupied without any sense of boredom for your kid. To maintain a healthy balance between new-age learning and physical activities, you need to be mindful about arranging games, reading, and human interaction in a day.

Parents need to be Role Models for their kids by setting a good example for them. Children learn by watching the surroundings every day, so it becomes vital for parents to exhibit their toddlers’ best. Besides just studying or playing around, indulging in activities such as gardening, making some innovative crafts out of building blocks, or clay and even household chores can be good for keeping children occupied with something productive.

Challenges like working from home with kids can eventually be good for everyone. Your children may learn some lessons in independence by being more realistic. Being around all day long can strengthen your bonds and improve communication.

Going about your work life in a new way in the New Normal Ecosystem can lead to favourable shifts and growth. This crucial situation allows you to rethink and mould all areas of your life. Pay attention to your kid’s emotional needs. Your children may need extra love, affection, and attention during this time — even if a tantrum leaves everyone involved feeling exhausted or frustrated. Your child is tapped into your emotions, as well as the overall energy of the world. They may have difficulty adjusting to a new routine or feel overstimulated- make sure that every day is an adventure to be a part of something new and exciting.

Play soothing music in your home to help stimulate feelings of relaxation. Encourage your kids to entertain themselves and keep themselves busy, but help them manage their time wisely. Set up appropriate activities to keep them involved.

Children can also be over-concerned about every other little thing they see or hear about, so limit their screen time and allow for occasional boredom to arise. Be polite in your approach and set clear boundaries, expectations, consequences, and presumptions.

With each passing day, they get to know about various physical and mental tasks. It is easy for them to pick up habits (be it good or bad). A parent always must encourage the child to use healthy phrases like Thank you, You’re Welcome and Excuse Me. Guiding them with these phrases at an earlier age will help them make them a part of their lifestyle.

Therefore, to help them bring out their best to have a bright future, parents always strive to ensure that their child learns and adopts only good habits and practices. It is often linked to a high level of discipline, self-control and self-management. These habits will help children in various aspects of their lives when they grow up and get exposed to the real world.

(The author is Chairman, Podar Education, Jaipur. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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