The stress-free management of working from home with children

Suddenly, and with almost no prior warning at all, life has changed, new rules apply and our daily routines have been disrupted. Working at home alongside your children seems like a crazy idea, however you can achieve a lot with a little organisation and positive energy

The state of emergency that has placed the country in social isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic has closed schools, sent thousands of people home and turned everyone's lives upside down. An enormous number of children are now studying under a remote schooling system and their parents have turned their homes into offices. These new routines and a thousand and one tasks to be completed in a 24-hour period in an area that was only used for part of the day are leaving families on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Adapting to this new reality entails challenges that require a different approach to that adopted in normal circumstances.

So how do we go about it? We listened to the opinion of the psychologist Teresa Paula Marques, who points out that this is a completely new situation and one which therefore generates stress, so we need to find the right balance to ensure everyone gets on together and everything works out: “Children need to be told what is happening and why they are at home, without alarming them, and that everyone will overcome this global crisis together” he says.

New life, old routines

In this new way of life, organising your day is of paramount importance in ensuring you conduct all your tasks without any hiccups. The specialist suggests that new routines should be as close as possible to those of a normal day, but indoors, from getting up times to personal hygiene, taking advantage of the additional time available to strengthen ties, without neglecting work or studies. It should be emphasised that “this is a one-off situation and not a holiday”, underlines Teresa Paula Marques, providing suggestions for activities to be carried out together in breaks and after household chores and school work, thereby ensuring children are distracted and kept away from screens (Internet, video games, television…) and avoiding the “sofa culture: everyone needs to be active”.

Meals involving everyone – Any member of the family can and should play a role in this daily activity, including setting the table, helping to cook, among other tasks. Time permitting, why not have a different kind of meal with a makeshift table on the veranda?

Family conversation – This is an excellent opportunity to promote dialogue and to get to know your children better: to find out about their friends, future prospects, preferences, desires and concerns.

Good communication with the elderly – Encourage children and young people to phone their grandparents and other members of the family who, due to social isolation, are on their own, but who need love and attention even from a distance.