The ongoing public health emergency has proved to be extremely difficult for parents around the country. Adjusting to remote working, on top of added childcare responsibilities since schools and crèches were closed on 12th march, has left many parents struggling to strike a balance between remote working and home-schooling their children.
These helpful tips and guidance from the Civil Service Employee Assistance Service (CSEAS) can help you with the kids during this time.
Adopting a flexible approach in handling work and childcare might be the key to working efficiently, according to the CSEAS advice. They strongly recommend mentioning at the start of calls that there may be some interruptions, and also using the mute button wherever possible. If your child needs attention during a call, do not hesitate to reschedule and end the call, as many people are in the same situation and will be empathic of your circumstances.
It is important to explain to your children that this is not a holiday or a weekend and that you still must continue working. Rather than focusing on the negatives and saying when you cannot be available to spend time them because of work, the CSEAS advice suggests framing it in a positive way and telling them when you will be free to spend time with them, which helps them understand better.
Having focused one-on-one time with your children can be extremely beneficial for them as well, as studies show spending only 8 minutes of one-to-one time with your child greatly increases their confidence and self-esteem.
Keeping in regular contact with your child’s school regarding lessons and classes helps stay on top of their coursework. Many publishers have now also made resources free at this time which can be found here. Zoos, aquariums, museums and many more cultural institutions are also offering virtual tours for children to experience and enjoy, which you can make the most of.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) Healthy Ireland guidelines suggest 60 minutes plus of daily moderate to vigorous exercise for children between 2 and 18 years of age. Since this may be tough given the current circumstances, alternative methods of exercise may help. Tutorials on various exercises and activities for kids can be found here and here.
A further extensive list of activities for children of all age groups can be found here, which may prove to be useful for those struggling to keep their children busy during the lockdown.
It is extremely important to remain positive and acknowledge that this situation is new for everyone, and you are not alone in this. The full list of guidelines and helpful resources for childcare can be accessed here.