All week I’ve seen articles about maintaining routine and staying productive while adjusting to working from home over a sustained period of time.
I’ve kept asking myself – and sometimes out loud – what about the self-help information about working from home with kids home from school? This is a much harder nut to crack, hence why maybe few are claiming the guide for how to navigate this scenario. Finally as the week progressed, my favorite dad blog published an insightful post.
Like many of us, my three kids under the age of six are currently home with us, as their schools closed their doors. We are trying to maintain structure for them, as they’ve all been in some level of schooling/daycare since they were just a few months old. We are trying to continue to stimulate their minds and promote daily learning, assuming the role of “teacher” to the best of our ability. After one day in this role, I’m convinced all teachers deserve a 682 percent raise.
Meanwhile, I’m doing my best keeping up with my day job, and my wife is scrambling like so many other small business owners to keep things status quo. We are trading off working and tending to the kids throughout the day.
Everything is closed, so this post obviously isn’t about cool things to take your kids to do around Columbus. We took the kids for a car ride through campus, Short North and downtown this weekend, and the city looks like The Walking Dead. Columbus Underground and other outlets have compiled great lists for supporting our local businesses that I recommend.
This post also isn’t some novel take on working from home with kids in the house and how to juggle it all. I just don’t have that expertise. We simply can’t do it all right now. The house is a mess. Screen time is regrettably increased. Snacking is at an all time high.
But I’m sharing what feeble – and sometimes successful – attempts we made this week to operate in this new normal, with the hope that other dads/parents will share ideas, activities and processes they’ve tried.
Daily FaceTime a Friend
This week, I’ve let each of my kids pick a friend to connect with on video conferencing. Three-year-olds struggle to maintain a worthwhile phone conversation for sure, but I want to keep them connected and socialized.
I believe most schools probably have some concept of centers, where students rotate between stations for different learning or creative activities. We’ve earmarked our mornings for this. Kudos to the kids’ teachers who have been sending us incredible daily activities to keep moving the curriculum forward.
My oldest’s gym teacher sent us more resources than we can even comb through for various physical fitness activities. He gave the students the mandate that he wants them performing physical activity for 40 minutes every day. We’ve started with Little Tykes basketball, bike rides and metro park hikes, but have started PE Bingo, The Move Cube and modeling our own NFL combine.
We are lucky to live on a street with tons of young families. In just one week, parents have organized a St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt where the kids hung homemade shamrocks in windows and a senior citizen card drive where the kids crafted greeting cards for senior center residents.
I’ve created a room-by-room list of spring cleaning opportunities. Closets, drawers, cabinets, etc. Thankfully our kids still love helping us, and they can certainly aid in reorganizing, sorting, recycling, and pitching our stuff. Bit-by-bit, we plan to cross off items from the list.
The parents need to keep their sanity too. For St. Patrick’s Day, the wife and I hosted an impromptu virtual trivia night, compiling 25 relevant questions, bringing together some friends across the country on a Google Hangout. It was a work in progress but a ton of fun and has since sparked more virtual gatherings.
Don’t beat yourself up. We’re all in this together! Thanks for sharing.
-Steve Michalovich, Contributor