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Balancing Family Life at Home and Work During Lockdown

It’s been a few weeks now since the Government put the UK on lockdown due to the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak, closing all schools, insisting that those that can work from home do and the rest of us (unless we are a keyworker) have no doubt been furloughed.

But how do you successfully balance family life at home and work life too. Thousands of people will also be parents, trying to homeschool their children, keep boredom at bay AND keep their jobs going. Initially, the task probably seemed quite daunting. Many may have a routine in place as this becomes the new ‘normal’. If you don’t and every day is becoming more and more stressful, we have some top tips to help:

1. Homeschooling routine
Education at home is very different to the structured routine that schools set, so whilst trying to copy the same environment may be tricky, having some kind of homeschooling routine in place where everyone knows what is happening when, is a good place to start. Perhaps try drawing up an activity plan or discussing with your child/children what the plan for the day is. Most importantly of all, don’t panic if it doesn’t go to plan. Whilst your children are engaged in a task, this might be the perfect opportunity to answer a few emails.

2. Keep things simple
If your child’s school is sending you material to work through, this is great and makes things easier for you. Try and spend some time, in the evening going through it to decide what you feel is achievable for your child to work through alone, in order to try and get some work time in for yourself. Perhaps sit together whilst you work and then you can be on hand to help them with any questions they may have. If you are stuck for homeschooling ideas, and need some help, visit the Family Life at Home ‘Find Resources’ (link) page, which features a whole directory of educational websites, homeschooling resources and activities to do at home.

3. Set-up a homeschooling / work zone
Many people who already work from home find it useful to have a separate space away from the rest of the family home in which to work, as it helps focus the mind and improves concentration levels. Children are no different. If you have the room, try creating a relaxing environment dedicated to homeschooling and work where you can all sit quietly and get on with the day’s activities. Make sure there is plenty of light and perhaps consider making it a fun, bright place which will inspire learning. Children could decorate it with their own paintings and artwork.

4. Take regular breaks
Homeschooling your children 1:1 on is very intense, bear in mind that they are usually in a class with 30 other children and therefore don’t have full on attention all of the time at school. Try to take regular breaks from both education and work. Plan in time to do activities at home together, something fun that everyone will enjoy and then go back to it refreshed.

5. Don’t panic
Most important tip! Everyone is in a similar boat. If you are struggling with keeping on top of your work and educating your children, have a chat with your employer. Perhaps they will be happy for you to spend some hours working in the evening when children are winding down for the night or are in bed. You will not be the only parent(s) feeling the pressure. Don’t worry or panic if your children aren’t getting through all the tasks set for them by the school – the most important thing in these difficult times is that everyone remains calm, happy and unstressed. It is difficult enough being coped up at home 24/7, having a miserable household will just make the whole experience even more difficult.