Thursday, 21 May 2020 12:00

Lockdown with kids - part 2

Written by Claire Bacon

stressed mom at home 1

Last time, we shared SENSE members’ top tips on managing your daily lockdown schedule with children around. This week, we take a look at ways to manage stress and look after your mental health during the lockdown.

Give yourself (and others) a break
There is no way to be the best parent and best worker at the same time. This is definitely a time to cut yourself some slack. And lockdown is stressful on everyone. Understanding that your family members are also under pressure and trying to support them can make your home a more peaceful place. Here’s what our parenting team have to say:

'My coping mechanism is to maintain a positive mentality so that I can care for my children and get my work done. I focus on how lucky I am to be able to work from home and that my business is doing well. My children and I are safe, and that hospitals here in Germany are not overburdened, so we can get the treatment we need should we get infected. I think myself lucky that we live in a remote rural area that allows us to get out of the house and be in the countryside for hours every day without breaking social distancing rules.' (Claire Bacon)

'Another tip would be to take as many walks as possible – while maintaining proper distance from others, of course. I generally try to build in half an hour of walking by myself every day, without doing anything 'productive' – no looking at e-mails, no thinking about work. During peak time or bad weather, I try to schedule one-on-one meetings as phone calls rather than video conferencing, so I can at least walk around the house at the same time to get some exercise.' (Ashley Cowles)

'I’ve been quoting longer for deadlines so I can spend a bit more time with my family when I’m on a break, make sure I’m available if there’s a nappy explosion or similar, put our eldest down for an afternoon nap, etc. We’ve recently been going for walks together just before or after lunchtime too. This ‘structure with flexibility’ works for us because my wife is on maternity leave. If she were back at work, it’d be a different story.' (Lloyd Bingham)

'My best hot tip about working from home in the Coronavirus Era is to be utterly pragmatic and Zen-like about the situation. This means:
• Not worrying too much about our efforts at home-schooling because the results are never going to be as good as what a professional teacher would have achieved in a real classroom;
• Accepting the fact that it’s better just to continue practising bits and pieces of schoolwork rather than nothing at all;
• Deciding to be pleased about the ease with which our kids (9 and 11) adapt to the various online meeting places, whether that’s Google Classrooms and Google Meet or TikTok and Star Stable (yes, they’re mad about horses);
• Prioritising our own paid work over home-schooling, even if it means knowing that we’re working upstairs while the kids are just watching Nickelodeon and gorging on crisps for hours on end downstairs;
• Focusing on the positives: when there’s less work around, there’s more time to do the admin and other business tasks that never get done;
• Realising that lots of people are in the same situation, and that the really important things are to stay healthy and sane.' (Cathy Scott)

'Don’t try to give clients the impression that you’re not working from home with your kids in the background. Our clients understand the situation, and it’s ok to show them that you’re human, too.' (Curtis Barrett)

'I am open and honest with my clients about my situation and I am asking for longer-than-usual deadlines. One advantage of these strange new circumstances is that I now have no problem turning clients away who want to haggle over my rates! I always struggled with this before, but these days it is very easy.' (Claire Bacon)

'Remember this isn’t a time to bust your gut at excelling at everything and ensuring your kids do too. They’re upset, disorientated, and missing their friends, activities and normal rhythm. Meanwhile, you have to work. There have to be compromises, and you might as well make things as pleasant for everyone as possible. We make allowances for the fact that kids sometimes need to explode in frustration and express their worries – sometimes through bad behaviour.' (Cathy Scott)

'My two boys are very good at playing together, but of course they interrupt me when I work. If I find myself getting frustrated (which happens if I am working on a particularly difficult edit), I take deep breaths. I do not want to get angry with my kids because their dad is away in the army and they deserve my understanding. The daily walks help a lot with this frustration – I am so grateful that we are allowed to go outside!' (Claire Bacon)

Read 285 times Last modified on Wednesday, 20 May 2020 09:51

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