During these challenging times, we appreciate just how difficult it can be juggling productivity and home schooling during the COVID-19 crisis when we are all in lockdown. Under normal circumstances, most would agree that having an organised space to work is essential for productivity within their business/work life whether this is a home office, a private office or regular coworking in a community work  space like Freedom Works.

We can all agree, it is tough to keep children occupied throughout the regular school holiday breaks let alone with lockdown procedures in place.  During these uncertain and worrying times, it is more important than ever to devise a routine that provides a healthy balance of entertainment, physical activity and mental stimulation whilst providing reassurance at a time when children, like adults, are confused, fearful about their wellbeing and worried about what the future will look like when this unprecedented and temporary situation is resolved.  Balancing this with remaining productive and thinking about how your business and work life will survive and thrive when this is all over is one of the greatest challenges most of us have ever been faced with.

We spoke to some of our members and Rachel Dines of Shake It Up Creative, a creative marketing agency based in Sussex, explained how she is coping:

“So for us, having a schedule works best.  My husband works full-time so can't help out during the day.  With the schedule that is printed and stuck to the lounge door, the children know when they are allowed on video games, when it is school work time, snack time etc.“ I plan what they will be doing in some blocks, like 'creative hour' and also have a slot that is a family activity like baking or playing a board game together.
There are set blocks of 'Mummy working' time where they have to be more self sufficient - then I know when I can schedule video meetings for. "

Freedom Works Finance Manager, Katie Sharp, also shared some key information with us on how she is dealing with getting the balance with her three boys being at home:

“Don't feel pressured to do lots of school work, a little every now and then is enough. At the beginning of lockdown I put a routine together for example maths at 11am, english at 1.20pm however I failed with this and put too much pressure on myself. I was also bombarded with home learning information from different resources and found I wasn't sticking at anything with the boys.

“One thing myself and my 7 year old enjoy is the Joe Wicks PE lessons to get active, although I do feel lucky we have a garden so the boys can go out and exercise out there. I just want to make sure that we all accomplish things whilst we are stuck at home, whether it's learning to play a musical instrument, get some home decoration completed, learn about a new topic through school project work or improve ourselves as a person for example I have found a really good 'confidence' course online for my eldest (10 year old) to complete. Also my 3 year old has learnt to ride a bike without stabilisers whilst being on lockdown!
“It is tricky working from home with the children around but I aim to keep my working days the same and the boys just have to be left to play/fight and leave me to it. I do give myself weekly work goals however I've been too optimistic, but I know I'll get there eventually.
I work in the kitchen area as my husband has use of the office which means I am surrounded by the noise and am constantly interrupted. I guess that's just how it is which is fine as long as we all stay safe and healthy.”

So our top tips for achieving balance……….

  • Routine- It is vital to stick to a regime to suit your individual household. Planners, sticker charts and timetables can create a sense of organisation for both you as a parent and your children following a clear and consistent structure to each day- It may also be an idea to allow your little ones to get creative when producing these timetables with paints, colouring pens and stickers.
  • Exercise- Since the government has allowed one form of exercise per day during lock down-now really is the time to make the most of this. Whether you set off first thing alone for a run to get prepped for a busy work day or spend your lunch break on a family bike ride, make sure you are getting fresh air every day.  An exercise routine helps to break up the day.
  • Hobbies- Ensure that your children are still participating in their regular hobbies throughout the duration of lockdown this will add a level of normality into their lives. Admittedly their usual Karate or swimming classes will not be going ahead but use this time to get creative with online ‘how to’ tutorials and virtual classes-this will free up plenty of time to look at your personal work.
  • Communicate- Remain connected to friends, family and colleagues.  With the plethora of communication and video conferencing apps such as Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp, Slack and social media channels there are many opportunities to share and support to avoid feelings of isolation.If you live in a two-parent household, it is important to discuss your workload with one another so that you can establish how your working days are going to run alongside taking care of your children.
  • Kindness -Don’t be too hard on yourself or your children - take time out for relaxation and make your goals achievable.

So what are the top 10 sources to gain entertainment/schooling for your children

We hope this blog has provided you with some unique new ways to keep yourself sane, remain productive and keep your children entertained, happy and well adjusted throughout the COVID-19 situation. For more information and support  join our Slack channel #freedomworkscommunity or our Freedom Works COVID-19 Support Group on LinkedIn where you can find business support and advice from a community of liked minded individuals and businesses.

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