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A week of working from home with kids

Schools and nurseries are shut except for key workers and so thousands of children all over the country are at home with their parents. And yet, traditionally office-based workers are expected to continue working from home with their children around. So, how are people managing it? With the first week of working at home with children completed, two families share their experience.

Lynsey and Kieran

Lynsey and Kieran are two full-time professionals who are usually based in the office most of the week. They have two pre-school boys who are normally in nursery five-days a week, so working from home with children has been a huge adjustment. The couple have gone from needing to coordinate nursery pick-ups and drop-offs to needing to coordinate a whole day of play and work. They do this by having a strict schedule and alternating working hours.

New working hours

Lynsey new working hours are scattered through the day. She works 6-7am and then does 3.5 hours during the normal working day, followed by an evening shift of 8.30pm until late. Her husband Kieran does 4.5 hours of work during the day as well as 5-7pm and 8.30pm until late alongside Lynsey. This means that the children have the full attention of at least one parent throughout the day.

Schedule for play

Lynsey has the children's play time in-hand with an hour-by-hour schedule of activities for both boys. A busy day of activities means that the boys are tired and ready for bedtime on time, enabling Lynsey and Kieran to get on with an evening of logging on to get work done.

6.30am: wake up, drink milk, get dressed

7.30am: surprise table of activity

8am: breakfast

9am: active activity e.g. outdoor walk, gymnastics, yoga

10am: reading, colouring, letters and numbers

11am: arts and crafts

12pm: lunch

1pm: quiet time while baby naps

2pm: phonics, numbers, writing

3.30pm: outdoor play

5pm: dinner

6pm: surprise table of activities

6.30pm: bath and downtime

7.30pm: bed time.

Minal and Jay

Minal and Jay are also full-time working parents. Uniquely, Jay is traditionally mostly home-based but is now joined by his wife. They have one primary school aged daughter and a toddler son. Since they both work full-time, their children are normally in a mixture of nursery, school and with grandparents throughout the week. Being quarantined now means they can’t rely on grandparents and have the children at home all day whilst still needing to get a full day's work done.

Minal and Jay’s week is less structured than Lynsey and Kieran’s and during the first week of quarantine, their days have varied. Just like Lynsey and Kieran, they work in shifts and they arrange these depending on scheduled calls and meetings in their diaries. After the children are in bed by 7pm, Minal and Jay will eat their own dinner and then log back on for a few more hours’ work.

A typical day

6am: children wake up

8am: children eat breakfast whilst the adults log on to work and check emails

9am: PE with Joe Wicks and then outdoor play

12pm: a quick-cook lunch

1pm: toddler naps whilst daughter does art and crafts or schoolwork

3pm: back in the garden or play indoors

5.30pm: dinner

7pm: children’s bedtime

If you feel like you've had a uniquely difficult week, then don't fear, the parental working from home pain is felt all over the world.

Celebs aren't immune, even when on national TV

Embrace the novelty

There's no need to hide how you're feeling

And remember, this will all be over one day. But let's hope that companies think like Tony after this is all over and the workplace will look a lot less rigid.

For tips on working from home with kids see our previous blog.

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