5 Tips for Working from Home with Kids

Our grandparents were called to war. We are being called to work from home and homeschool our children at the same time. We can do this!
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in schools shutting down across Canada, and many employees have been mandated to work from home. While many parents have worked remotely on occasion to monitor their kids during illness or on PD days, this new normal of working and schooling simultaneously for an unknown period is no doubt unnerving. So, consider your children your new coworkers. From here on, I will be referring to your children as your Gen Alpha colleagues.
1. Create a productive environment
You need a dedicated workspace – what that looks like can vary drastically, but do not work from your bed! Ideally, a designated room with a door that is relatively soundproof. Work together with your Gen Alpha colleagues to come up with a visual that will limit distractions. Examples: Make a STOP/GO or Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down sign for your door, whatever will make it clear to your colleagues to only interrupt if fire or blood is involved.
2. Embrace technology

Like most Millennial parents I purposefully limit my Gen Alpha colleagues’ screen time; BUT, if used correctly, mobile devices and the applications they support will help prepare Gen Alpha for their future careers. Ask yourself, if our organizations hadn’t embraced technology, how would we all be working from home during this pandemic? Generation Alpha is not afraid of technology (or touching buttons to learn what those buttons do).

Consider having them listen to a podcast while you take a meeting as opposed to a Netflix show. And although not always appropriate, if I’m busy working you will often hear me say “Go ask Google” (or Siri, or Alexa if they are in your preferred assistant). I know from experience that interacting with Artificial Intelligence and voice assistants comes naturally for Gen Alpha at a very young age!

3. Set up a (bell) schedule
Everyone gets up, dressed, eats breakfast, and tidies up in the morning. Have you considered giving yourselves a morning commute around the block? Not only does a regular schedule help you, but your Gen Alpha colleagues are accustomed to a focused school environment with subject areas dictated largely by a bell schedule. Involve them in decision making. I recommend covering math and chemistry over the lunch hour, and quiet reading time in the afternoon!
4. Build in recess
Recess is to traditional school what coffee breaks are to most office environments. So, grab your coffee and get outside with your Gen Alpha colleagues.
5. Set realistic performance expectations

During a Global crisis, there is no professional advantage to pretending things are normal. Likewise, we’re not all going to become elementary school teachers overnight. Homeschool experts don’t rely on printable worksheets, nor should you. Alphas learn by doing and experiencing! How many of you have tried the recent pepper experiment to show the importance of good hygiene?

Even though these are trying times, we know this challenge won’t last forever. The key is to develop a solid routine that works for everyone.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all the hard-working medical professionals, emergency responders, janitors, telecommunications workers, drivers, postal and grocery workers. To them, and to everyone else who continues to work onsite day and night to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, thank you!

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