One of the almost never mentioned things about working at home is when you have to do it with your children. The reason? Children are usually at the school when you do remote work or freelancing so they don’t deserve a mention in any productivity guide. But this condition can change for several reasons.
- Your child gets sick at the last moment and has to stay at home.
- Your child has to pay some suspension day for disciplinary reasons — it happens, you know?
- There is no school bus service where you live and you can’t take your children.
- There was an earthquake so schools are closed until official revision — I live in Mexico City, that has happened.
- There is a pandemic and schools are closed — we had the H1N1 in Mexico and now the coronavirus worldwide.
Bring to these possible scenarios that you don’t find babysitting or a family member to help. What should you do?
Well, let me be honest, it’s more difficult than it looks. But, if you can handle the everyday work that your job or clients demand, take this as a new challenge. At some moments you are going to feel the problems and situations are personal. It’s normal, they are your family and it looks personal. Just it’s not.
Let your co-workers and clients know your situation. They will understand. Tell them your time window availability for meetings and so on. For the rest, use asynchronous communication. You know, email, messages…
This is the key. Your children usually go to school they have instructions, rules, regulated times and spaces. They already know how to behave under that context. They just need to see the routines and times they follow at home.
You may need a couple of days to do the activities with them, but once you set them, the rest of the days are going to be easier. And if you have to take care of them another day, they are going to already know what to do with it.
Although I have two daughters, one three and the other fourteen, I follow more or less the same principles. The kind of activities are very different…