For the first time in weeks, my house is quiet.
I just have one kid but when the schools were shut down, I inherited three more because my friends were health workers and needed to social distance from their children. Who would have thought that a time like this will come?
My wife and I find ourselves screaming every morning before work which we now do from home. But in all the constant shouts and headaches, which lead to the plenty sugar pumps (may the dentists not chop our heads with fees post-covid), WE FOUND A WAY!
We understood that the chaos was because this situation is new to all of us. I mean, it’s weird that they can’t see their best friends and teachers and won’t even be able to visit them for God-knows-how-long.
So, take it easy on them. Here’s how we made it work so far.
First, a little dose of sunshine hurt nobody. We try to get them to bathe like they are actually going to school and we all go outside before breakfast. Vitamin D is still essential and in those moments, we break down our schedule for the day. We also hear from them how school was the previous day and if they would need our help too. Don’t forget they’re helping you by shutting up, so, you need to make them know that you can be of help too.
They take the dining table; we take the living room. That way, we can supervise without disturbing. We also made sure that their lunch break and ours coincide so that we can keep tabs on each other. We try to give them the same snacks like school times so it feels almost the same. Use your breaks too; it applies on site and with remote working.
Set boundaries. You can start off with, ‘knock and if the door is locked, know I’m on the phone’. Make them understand that if you lose your job, they won’t buy the games, dresses and sweets, of course. Sometimes, I take calls on speakerphone just so they remember this and they comply.
Reward. Most behaved of the day gets something that they like. For now, it’s been yoghurt or more snacks than the rest or even increased screen time. Children love to be paid for obedience just like you love to be appreciated by your boss!
Reassess yourself. I had to stop measuring productivity by number of work hours but by volume of tasks accomplished. That way, I could get stuff like writing, calculations and research done in the early hours of the morning or late at night when they are asleep while I reply mails during TV time or while helping out with assignments.
Above all, remember that they would disturb like children that they are but the goal is to get them to be quiet for much longer. Therefore, you need to make them feel like they are in school. You can work with their friends’ parents to schedule video calls for them to catch up after school while you put those hours to work.
If you found these helpful, feel free to leave a comment below and share these tips by a Nigerian couple.