Business Tips | Parenting

7 Ways Parents Can Juggle Work and Kids During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Amanda Hemm

Have you ever been so overwhelmed with work and kids that you just can’t see your way out? 

Even if you’re working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, your work days are long, deadlines are looming, and you know the busy season may just be beginning. 

With all your work stuff going on, you may also be dealing with new issues, like helping your children with their online schooling. No wonder you aren’t sleeping well!

You may find yourself starting to say things like, “Things will slow down in August/summer/when my kid is 18” or “I don’t think I can keep working full-time with kids.”

You are constantly worried that you are not giving your all at either work or home, and that this juggling act is never going to end. Does this sound like you? 

You are not alone. In fact, I don’t know any working parent who hasn’t felt this way from time to time! 

Here are 7 ways parents can juggle work and kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. This too shall pass

I had this phrase pinned on my office wall for years and there truly is wisdom in this old saying. 

If there is one constant about having kids and being a working parent, it’s that nothing stays the same. Think back to where you were a year ago. Even with our current coronavirus challenges, you’ve probably been able to adapt. You are learning every single day and implementing your knowledge in ways that are making you a better parent and a better professional. 

The bottom line: When you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, remain calm, step back, take a deep breath, and look at things with a positive perspective. And if you need more support, check out my Parenting in the Pandemic You Tube series here.

2. Find quality time with your family in the “in-between” moments

In the midst of all of your busyness, finding quality time can become a point of stress rather than joy. 

Instead of focusing on grand gestures, look for ways to turn moments into quality time. 

Can you take five minutes to jump in puddles after a rainstorm? You will be surprised by the joy on your child’s face and your own! 

You can also involve your children in your daily routine – especially now that everyone is home. Many children love helping to wash dishes or fold towels. You can even wash your hands together, teaching your kids the right way to wash hands safely! 

Here’s another tip: Get crafty in the kitchen together using pantry staples. It’s these small interactions that deepen the bond between you and your children. If you feel like you’ve forgotten how to play, or engaging with your child doesn’t come naturally, here are some tips for you with more ideas for family activities at home.  

3. Breathe. Breathe again

As a yogi or a parent of a budding yogini, I don’t have to tell you the importance of breathing. It gives you time to regroup. It provides oxygen that your body needs. Breathing is a great way to use mindfulness to ease stress. And yet, we forget to breathe! We hold our breath. Our inhales speed up. Our exhales don’t fully empty our lungs. 

So pause. Take a breath. And another. While you are at it, remind your kids to breathe and teach them that breathing gives them control over their bodies and emotions. 

4. Move your body

Movement, yoga, and exercise releases endorphins and oxytocin – two of the most powerful stress-busters. 

While going for an hour-long walk may not fit into your schedule every day, there are ways to get your body moving even as a busy working parent. “Walk-n-talk” meetings are my favorite way to move while working. Bonus? Getting out of the house often stimulates creative problem-solving. 

When you’re with your kids, you can also find ways to move. Some of my favorite ideas include kitchen dance parties while cooking dinner, simple yoga poses for kids before bedtime, or a walk around the block. The kids will appreciate the quality time with you, and you’re teaching them positive mental and physical health habits from a young age.

5. What exactly are you juggling?

Juggling work and kids is your reality. You have a wide variety of responsibilities and limited time to focus on any one of them. 

This is really the crux of what makes being a working parent so hard. So, as you are juggling, take a look at what balls you have in the air. Some of them are going to be more urgent or have a higher priority than others. These balls are precious and need to be kept in the air. Others are okay to drop or pass off. 

Each day – perhaps multiple times in a day – the priorities of your balls will change. One day it will be more family-centric. On other days, work will come first. (Hopefully, self-care will also be a priority but that’s a topic for another day!) 

By becoming aware of your  priorities – and knowing they will shift – you’ll be more efficient and effective at the task at hand. 

6. Find your village or tribe or whatever you call it

There is a reason for the cliche “It takes a village to raise a child.”

It’s because it’s true. We are meant to be part of a community, like the one offered at Pretzel Kids yoga. A community gives you a circle of like-minded people to rely on and to learn from. Never is this more evident than right now – when we are all mainly alone in our homes trying to figure out the juggling act. 

So, find other parents and connect anyway you can – on the phone, via email, over Zoom, or on Facetime! Your neighbors, friends, and fellow working parents will become your village. You’ll learn parenting tips, ways to navigate the ‘new normal’ at home, and how to deal with continuing to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. You don’t have to do it all on your own.

7. Take what works, leave what doesn’t

As you are navigating your journey as a working parent and learning how to balance work and family, you’ll receive lots of advice. Take this blog for instance – it’s full of advice! 

Sometimes you’ll hear a nugget that really resonates and you immediately incorporate it. Other times you’ll find that the advice doesn’t suit you. You have the privilege of taking what works for you and leaving behind what doesn’t.

Being a working parent is not easy – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! So, give yourself grace, practice these strategies for releasing stress, maintain perspective, and connect with other parents. You’ve got this! ?

Additional editing by: Robyn Parets

About Amanda: Amanda Hemm is the co-founder of Soutiens, a company that is on a mission to help companies attract, retain, and support confident working parents. We believe that with the right preparation, mothers and fathers can thrive in the workplace and at home. We specialize in developing comprehensive programming to help expectant and new parents navigate the realities of preparing for leave, returning to work, and juggling the priorities of career and parenthood. Our flexible resources are designed to fit the needs of a wide range of workplaces. To learn more, check out Soutiens’ COVID-19 Resource Guide here.

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