Rejoice, parents! You now have new, tiny colleagues at home — and they’re needier than any you would have encountered before. First of all, go easy on yourself. You’re essentially being asked to perform two full-time jobs, but you’re not alone in the new normal of balancing your ever-present kids with work.
Every working parent of small children I know is truly not okay. I’m not talking about “#MomLife! So stressful! Cold coffee! But so worth it!” I’m talking about like, seriously on the verge of a breakdown, very understandably. How is this supposed to go on?
— Jenée (@jdesmondharris) March 19, 2020
At Style Theory, every family has a different approach to this. We reached out to our #MumsOfStyleTheory for some creative kid-proof suggestions to help you fulfill your work obligations while maintaining family harmony.
Stephanie Bois, Head of Merchandising, a mom of two (9-month-old and 2-year- old): “#thestruggleisreal!”
So, what can you do with a baby and a toddler if you can’t bring them to a playground and let them lick every available surface?
Modified ‘Musical Chairs’
In an open area of the room, use masking tape to form large geometric shapes on the floor or baby mat (or use large cut-out shapes taped securely to the floor). Aim to have at least three basic shapes: circles, squares, and triangles.
Play music and encourage them to move around the shapes in any way they wish. Then stop the music and name one of the shapes for them to stand on. This could keep them busy while you sit at arm’s length and have your work done!
Stephanie: “Since the pool is closed, we brought the baby tubs or buckets out to the balcony and had them play in them, mimicking the real deal!”
No pool? No problem? There are tons of ways to keep your kids happy without a swim. With household objects like sponges, a hose, or buckets, the possibilities for water time are endless. Just remember to keep an eye out on them and stay safe. Happy splashing!
Let’s be honest: spare time is probably going to involve a lot more screens. Plopping your toddler in front of a Netflix cartoon while you get 45 minutes of critical work done is not the end of the world, especially during this stressful time for all of us.
Stephanie recommends educational videos like Cocomelon, “My son has taught himself the entire alphabet from watching Cocomelon!” Now that’s a win-win!
Board the Potty Train
Stephanie: “Several friends have suggested that being quarantined at home during Circuit Breaker is a convenient time to potty train my reluctant 2-year-old toddler. Some of them might have given up but we persisted. After a dreadful week of urine accidents, he’s somewhat potty trained!”
Jainee Ghandi, Lead in Styling and Fit Team, a mum of two (5- and 10-year-olds): “Bored kids can be very creative!”
While babies are often content sitting on a bouncy chair and listening to children’s songs on loop, older kids might prefer more interactive activities.
Bust Out the Toy Box
Almost every parent we spoke to had one toy that keeps their kids occupied for hours. For Jainee’s children, that magical box is the basic Lego brick set. Not only do they have fun building and destroying each other’s creations, but you can also challenge them to sort them by colour into organiser trays!
Keep in Contact
Jainee also noted that it’s important for her kids to keep in touch with their grandparents. Zoom is a seemingly eternal presence in the work-from-home lifestyle, but Caribu presents itself as the fun, kid-friendly alternative.
By using Caribu, a video calling app, her kids and their grandparents can both talk and see each other. At the same time, they can also engage and share an on-screen activity with the option to read, play games, or draw together. While staying at home is not easy, staying connected is, as it allows some type of interaction with those they love most.
Ask for Household Help
Whether it’s pulling the laundry out of the dryer or washing the dishes, a study by The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests there are benefits to including chores in a child’s routine. When children contribute to family life, it helps them feel competent and responsible (even if they don’t necessarily enjoy the chore).
Jainee: “It’s OK if your kids are not doing anything at all, and don’t be pressured to do new things every day. Kids love a good routine and they wouldn’t mind doing things over and over again, so this Circuit Breaker is a great time to play freely!”
Staying at home doesn’t have to be a bore when you’ve got cool tips and tricks to stay productive, connected, and positive. Lockdown or not, we’ve got you covered with our Stay Home Guide — tap to read more!