Tips for working from home with children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Having your children around at home can be the most rewarding experience for any parent after a hard day’s work. But in the wake of COVID-19, parents in Hong Kong are embarking on a whole new world of balancing their careers with caring (and homeschooling) for their children – with no sign of it ending anytime soon.
So what can parents do to cope with life at home during this pandemic? In this feature by Pacific Prime Hong Kong, we have compiled some tips to help parents like you get through this difficult period.
Create a schedule for you and your children
As a parent, you should consider creating a schedule that highlights everyone’s needs and priorities. Being adults, you’ll be more than capable of prioritizing your own workload but young children may need your assistance. Consider these simple tips in creating the schedule:
- Review your child’s curriculum and assignments. With schools in Hong Kong currently closed until further notice, many schools have shifted lessons online. This means you should ensure that all resources are accessible online and that you have the right technological and hardware support in place such as high-speed internet access.
- Use this opportunity to get your child involved. By doing so, you are making them feel responsible and accountable for their education. It is natural as caring parents to want to do everything but don’t forget that children should be as much involved for the sake of their learning and autonomy. Discuss with them what learning environment would suit them best. Have fun bouncing ideas off one another. Treat it like an exciting renovation by creating extra space in their room or removing unnecessary distractions like game consoles or large bulky furniture. Think of it as creating a learning sanctuary that promotes their learning and benefits their mental and physical health.
- Team up with your partner. If you have a partner, it would be sensible to discuss their work schedule, how many hours are required of them a day, and what times of the day are best for them to work. You could create a similar schedule as parents (partner 1 and partner 2) to manage time:
6 am – 9 am: Partner 1 works, while partner 2 handles breakfast and other household chores.
9 am – 12 noon: Partner 2 works, while partner 1 gets the children ready for homeschooling and online learning classes.
12 noon – 1 pm: Lunch for the whole family.
1 pm – 3 pm: Partner 1 and 2 continue with their work, while their children focus on their assignments and learning online.
3 pm – 6 pm: Partner 2 finishes off work and helps the children wrap up any remaining schoolwork. Parent 1 works and prepares dinners for the family.
6 pm – 10 pm: The whole family has dinner and relax together doing fun activities and hobbies together. The whole family should also consider doing some sort of physical exercise. There are a number of exercise classes available online for all to do. Physical exercise helps to relieve any stress and anxiety built up from work, learning, and staying indoors during the day.
The above schedule is based on a household with two parents and at least 2 young children. With Asian family members living mainly together in Hong Kong, other members of the family (grandparents, aunties, and uncles) can help with some of the responsibilities like completing daily chores, cooking, homeschooling children, and so forth.
Separate your workspace
With many parents working from home, it can be difficult to separate your workspace from your home space. When at home it can be tempting to lie in bed to work or slouch on the sofa to send that email to your manager. So here are some tips to help you create your very own workspace sanctuary:
- If the option is available, choose a separate room as a dedicated place to create your workspace. Ensure the room can be closed to keep noise entering from the kitchen, laundry units, and children. Create ground rules like knocking on the door or assign “do not disturb” periods for conference calls and meetings.
- If a spare room is not an option, you could consider a spare corner to set up a desk with basic necessities like a laptop and an ergonomic chair. Think simple and don’t overcomplicate. Use what you need and try not to clutter your workspace.
- Use the kitchen countertop as the work desk. Although it may not be as ideal as a quiet room, a simple setup can easily be done. Just be sure to let other members of the family know not to be too loud or messy!
Use your time wisely
Unless your partner has plenty of time to spare putting a healthy banquet of food on the table for everyone in the household, it may help to prep your meals in advance. You’ll also save valuable time that can be spent more on working productively and fulfilling your children’s needs.
Begin by discussing as a family what to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Write out a meal plan so that you can buy the ingredients in advance and have the whole family prepare all the ingredients the night before. Cooking is a fun activity that should be done by the whole family so use it as an opportunity to learn new recipes. Enjoy and stay positive!
Talk to Pacific Prime about insurance options in Hong Kong
We hope these tips will help you to create a well-balanced schedule for work and family while schools across Hong Kong remain closed. For parents that have questions regarding family health insurance, or other forms of insurance protection, feel free to compare health insurance with one of our advisors.
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