Trying to manage a career and family proves challenging enough in ordinary times. Tackling the daunting task of having your kids at home while you attend to your work duties can leave you in a sobbing heap quickly. How can you do it all?Many people have juggled home life and careers successfully. Embrace these tips to keep your entire family mentally and physically healthy during uncertain times - this is also helpful when your kids are on a school break:
1. Give your kids a scheduleRight now, the world seems like an uncertain place, and the anxiety you may have over finances or your job can rub off on your little ones. Human beings crave routines because these schedules inhibit the fear response — when you know what to expect, life seems less scary. This mechanism explains why people sometimes grow irritable or excitable when they are in unfamiliar situations.
Create a schedule and post it on your refrigerator. Designate at least eight hours of activities, including frequent breaks for socialization and movement. You might follow an hour of homeschooling work with a snack break, and take a longer one at lunch for getting out in the backyard, too.
2. Monitor indoor noise levelsChildren can make a lot of noise — especially when some of yours typically attend school during the day. You could get a headache, or even experience hearing loss from screaming little ones.
Steal a tip from teachers and demonstrate indoor and outdoor voices for your little ones. This way, when you need them to calm down, you can say, “Indoor voices, please.” This statement works more effectively than losing your cool when things get too noisy.
3. Learn something newYour children may need to be homeschool right now. Resources such as Khan Academy offer online lessons parents can assign to young learners. The Princeton Review recently launched a one-on-one tutoring program where your struggling high school student can prepare for advanced placement tests despite their altered environment.
You too can also learn some new tricks. For example, why not learn how to make holistic healing recipes from ingredients from your kitchen? These tips can prove useful when you don’t want to take your little ones to the clinic and can be done from your living room.
4. Cook nutritious meals togetherYou don’t always have to keep your children out of your hair. Bring back the days of home economics — even if your kiddos aren’t high school-aged — by whipping up nutritious meals together. While you don’t want to let the littlest tots use sharp knives, they can do things like help you sift flour or stir batter. When you sit down at the dinner table, your rambunctious little angels will give you less grief about eating a meal they helped prepare.
5. Get outside — safely
Even though you can’t visit many popular outdoor destinations, you may still go out for exercise - if your city allows it. Why not do it as a family with these tips:
- Go for a walk: Walking helps you burn calories. Plus, if you have young children, you can take a stroller if they get tired. Getting them to move their little legs can make naptime a breeze later on.
- Play nature explorer: Take your kids out in the backyard, balcony or garden and become explorers. Bring a magnifying glass to examine the bug species you see. Use an app like PictureThis to identify native flora.
- Build something together: If you have a budding young Bob — or Barb — the Builder, why not show them how to build a birdhouse? You can complete this activity on a small porch or balcony.
6. Encourage self-soothing behaviorsEveryone — adults and children alike — need positive behaviors to turn to when life gets chaotic. Encourage activities like coloring and drawing. Even adults enjoy the soothing motions of staying within the lines. Yes — when things get too hectic, it’s okay to let your kiddos play a video game. Limit their screen time, but remain aware of their psychological needs, also. Sometimes, they might need 30 minutes to lose themselves in Mario Kart.
7. Introduce your child to mindfulnessFinally, you can introduce even young children to yoga and meditation. Yoga and similar forms of mindfulness-related exercise are excellent ways to manage stress and reduce negative thoughts. When teaching kids yoga, name poses after zoo animals to get them into the playful spirit. You can get them into a downward dog pose, for example, by having them imitate a dolphin leaping out of the waves.
You can also introduce kids of any age to basic mindfulness techniques. Have them practice deep breathing by pretending to be Darth Vader. Show them how to place their hands on their hearts to feel the beat. Get them to gently rest their palms on their stomachs to feel the rise and fall as they breathe.