In the coming weeks, some employees will have returned to working from home alongside their children who will also be learning from home. Without the structure that schools and workplaces provide, it can be difficult for parents to manage the competing demands of work with children’s education and home life.
Getting the balance can be difficult and may create additional stresses on ourselves and our relationships. However, taking some time to plan and manage expectations around work and learning can help you Relieve the Pressure on yourself and your children at this time.
To help you find a strategy that works for you and your family, Copacetic have spoken to Relate NI counsellor and head of Clinical Service Ali Templeton, and put together some top tips for navigating homework & schooling while maintaining healthy relationships through lockdown.
Refrain from putting too much pressure on your children. The classroom is a powerful structure that creates favourable learning conditions, and it is impossible to mimic this setting at home while also keeping on top of your own workload.
Prioritise Materials & Subjects
Concentrate on the things you know your kids enjoy and what you have at your disposal. If you live close to a park or woodland, on your lunch break you could take a nature walk and do a lesson about local biodiversity. Get your children involved in preparing meals and teach them about nutrition. Perhaps you could teach them about your job or industry and the work that you do.
Set Routine & Rewards
This can be difficult but it is important and allows both of you to focus time to complete work as well as time to relax and rejuvenate. Set clear boundaries and know when to hold your children accountable, but also when to let things slide. Rewards systems may help motivate your children and create a sense of accomplishment.
Prepare for Phone Calls & Meetings
If you have a scheduled meeting, prepare an activity to occupy your children in advance. Try putting on an age-appropriate documentary or game that they do not need much help with.
If you are interrupted during an important online meeting, try to remember that children may not grasp that they are interrupting, chances are your employers will understand and may be experiencing similar issues.
Replace your morning commute with a morning walk, run or cycle. A short walk can easily turn into an outdoor lesson by visiting nearby landmarks or hunting for different tree or animal species. A brief period of exercise before work has proven to increase productivity and attention.
Remember that whilst there will be challenges, there are also great opportunities. We can get to know our children and partners better, learn new things and spend quality time together as a family. We are learning new skills which will assist us in our career including the ability to multitask, project manage and problem solve. If we practice self-care and connect with people around us, our families can come out of this with greater personal strength and stronger relationship connections while we emerge as better professionals.
Relate NI continue to offer counselling services for Children & Young People, Couples, Families & Individuals at this time. We are utilising phone and video calling to reach people with our services across NI. Our team may be able to offer face to face sessions for those who cannot access phone or webcam or who are not suitable for these services.
To find out more about how you or your children may benefit from talking to a Relate NI therapist, or to download Relate NI’s digital resources to help you cope with the pressures facing your relationships, log on to https://www.relateni.org/relieve_the_pressure or call 028 9032 3454.
For HR, Employment Law or Health & Safety Issues, please contact a member of the Copacetic Team.