As most school districts have, our’s has closed for the next two weeks to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Our daycare/pre-school has also elected to close, meaning the four kids (11, almost 9, 4, and 4) are at home.
I office out of our house when I’m not on the road. Garen’s company has encouraged everyone that can to work from home as well. Working at home with four kids has its challenges. So, as soon as we heard school was going to be closed, we started planning on how to make it as productive as possible for us to keep working at home but also keep those little minds engaged and entertained without simply setting them in front of the TV all day. No judgement if TV and electronics are your plan- we all gotta do whatever we can to make this work and stay healthy (and sane).
We’re focusing on the positives of having them home. I happened to see a schedule that someone had made on Facebook and we loved the idea so much we created our own version, along with a few other checklists/schedules. I thought I’d share with you guys in case you’re looking for ideas of how to make this work for your family as well. Here’s what we’ve got:
- Weekday Schedule – COVID-19
- Morning Checklist (why did I not do this before this???)
- Weekday Chore Schedule- COVID-19 Pandemic 2020 (increased focus on cleaning- don’t judge me but I totally didn’t do this all the time before)
- Academic Schedule for Electronics and TV-Movie Schedule (we only have so many iPads and computers available and don’t want them just to focus on this) and TV/Movie Schedule (who gets to pick)
Feel free to download the excel documents- just know that you’ll need to change them to put your kiddos’ names- unless yours just happen to be named Will, Anna, Clara, and Kate. Of course, I’d love it if you would share the blog, vs. just downloading, but that’s your call. Either way, you’ll likely need to tweek this to make it work with your family’s schedule and needs.
A few other things Garen and I are doing to make working at home successful and (hopefully) all stay healthy:
- Take shifts working vs. kid-duty. We will work earlier and later than our normal 8-5 work schedules to achieve this.
- Planning meals vs. scrambling for what to eat- keeping food as healthy as possible. I figure the healthier we eat, the better off we are- we’ve also seen their behavior is better if we eat less processed stuff. Again, no judgement- there will likely still be some corn dogs and mac-n-cheese in our future for the next few weeks too!
- Involving the kids in cooking the meals- learning and entertainment at the same time. I’m hoping we can make some yummy cookies together for sure.
- Staying active with the kids outside, if possible, and doing activities inside on rain days such as dancing or yoga. I work-out daily (using the Faster Way at home workouts), so I’ll include them if they’d like to do it with me.
- Monitoring the sanitizing/cleaning- although our kids are good at cleaning, we still want to make sure that it gets done
- There may be work meetings we have to go to, but neither of us have companies that are pushing for large meetings so “social distancing” should be easy for us when we do have to venture out. When we do, we will make sure we’re washing our hands, etc. and sanitizing during our trips out and as we return home.
- Meetings we would’ve had in person can mostly be done over the phone or Skype, if necessary. I saw a meme that said something like “We’re about to see how many meetings could’ve been emails.” So much truth here. I’d like to add that “so many emails, could’ve been phone calls and/or text messages.” I may be chasing a squirrel here.
- We have a dedicated office that I work in, but if we didn’t, we would’ve made our bedroom or another room our temporary office vs. an open area that creates distraction and makes phone calls hard to make.
- Stick to the schedule- Our kids thrive on a schedule and when they know what to expect, as do we. They’re used to this at school so keeping it as normal as possible will help.
- Altered bedtimes- You may notice that there’s a slightly later bedtime than we usually do (usual is 7:30 for 4’s, 8 for our almost 9 year old, and 9 for our 11 year old). This is because they get up every morning for school by 6:30 and now they really could get up by 8:30 and get everything done by the 9:00 cut-off.
- Offer a reward- Every kid that checks off each of the scheduled things (see the schedule) gets to stay up until 9. Otherwise 8:00 is bedtime. We’re hoping that will be a “carrot” for them to stay on schedule and positive.
- We plan to enjoy and make the best of our time together rather than seeing it as a negative.
Lemons to Lemonade. Stay safe and healthy, my friends!