If you have found yourself trying to balance work and taking care of your children, chances are, you have felt frustrated or stressed at certain moments. Staff video calls, phone calls with colleagues, and helping kids with math homework all at once can feel overwhelming. Your family nanny is a huge help, yet everyone in your home together is a bit crowded! But there is help! Here are some steps you can take to successfully juggle childcare and work during the pandemic.
#1: Communicate your expectations.
It’s important to make sure your children, your nanny as well as your work colleagues know your situation. Many other colleagues are in the same boat as you are, so they are likely to understand that you may be unavailable for certain meetings or you might be interrupted on others. Be clear about what conflicts you have. The same goes for your children and nanny. Clearly communicate what meetings you have on any given day, and create a strategy where-by nanny and children can help create a calm and quiet environment, even if it involves a walk to the local ice cream shop for an unexpected treat to create a quiet hour in your day.
#2: Set boundaries.
Once expectations are clear, boundaries are needed. For work, this may mean that you’ll need to leave emails and calls for your designated work time. For children and caregiver, it may mean that you set a timer that includes a no-interruption policy so you can get some work tasks done. When the timer runs out, make sure your kids know that your full attention will be on them.
#3: Create a schedule.
Kids (and adults!) thrive on routines. That’s why creating a schedule can be really helpful. Stick to consistent bed and wake up times and work with your nanny to build in time after their schoolwork for some fun activities. Schedules and routines help bring a sense of familiarity and security which is important in a time like this.
#4: Ask for help.
If you have another partner in the house, make sure you’re on the same page as far as juggling work and childcare. If both of you are working, this means there are more things to juggle, so communication is key. Work as a team to make things run as smoothly as possible. If you are among the hundreds of thousands of families who relied on child care arrangements that are now also closed, hiring a nanny can be an incredibly beneficial move. Whether it’s full-time, part time, short-term, or long-term, hiring a nanny gives you an extra hand and provides your kids loving childcare in your absence. There are many experienced nannies out there that can even help with homework or other educational activities.
#5 Outsource where possible.
Have groceries delivered. Consider meal planning and delivery services such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. Involve the children in meal preparation - rolling reading, math and science into the mix! Double up on your cleaning service visits and add in changing and laundering bedroom and bathroom linens, get the fridge cleaned more often, and in general remind yourself that YOU do not need to do it all!