Tag: work

A Working Parent’s Guide to Self Isolation

The advice from the Australian Government is encouraging anyone who can work from home, to be working from home – Easy enough to adopt, right? The spread of COVID-19 is forcing working parents to adjust to their ‘new normal’ which sees them work from home, all while household ‘management’ duties seem to be ramping up as the unprecedented set of circumstances unfold.

Whether its juggling toddlers and sleep schedules among video calls, managing a team remotely while simultaneously acting as your child’s tutor, or perhaps a combination of all of the above – there’s no rule book or guide to tackling our new roles as working parents.

Early bird gets the worm

Where possible, try and get up an hour or so earlier than usual to squeeze in some uninterrupted work.

Make self-care a priority

It’s all too easy to lose sight of boundaries and forget the importance of self-care. Try and separate work from personal and get into healthy habits such as having a shower before you start the working day, pop something else on other than your best trackies and remember to turn your computer off and close your laptop at the end of the day.

Create a schedule (for you, and your children)

You know what they say: ‘fail to plan, and plan to fail’ – which is why mapping out a thorough schedule to see you through the day is key. Try to capitalise on occasions where your children are otherwise occupied such as: napping, watching movies, or completing schoolwork to capitalise on more demanding work tasks.

Where possible, try and remain in a similar routine each day to help your children understand expectations. Getting them involved in the days prospect will help minimise tantrums and allow you to better navigate the work day too. Allow them to choose from a pool of learning and leisure activities to essentially let them design their day.

Another helpful tip is to plan and prepare meals in advance to avoid hungry, nagging children. This can easily be turned into a rewarding and time-effective activity which helps tick one more chore off the ‘to-do’ list as well as keep kids entertained.

Have a dedicated workspace

Where possible try and arrange a space where you can return to each day so you begin associating the area with work. Encourage conversation with your kids around boundaries and behaviour in this space to help them better understand your needs.

Lean on your community

Combine forces with parents in a similar situation and organise virtual playdates and parent pods to share the load. Take it in turns to facilitate learning opportunities in place of day care or school.

Have a ‘bag full of tricks’ just in case

Keep a box of puzzles, activities, books, and special toys near your workspace that can be used as you’re working. Keep them exclusively for ‘desk time’ to create a sense of exclusivity and desire. It’s always handy to have a couple of snacks ready to go too, in case of emergency.

Stay in touch with your colleagues

Many of your peers will be in the same boat. Make the time to catch up with them for a virtual ‘water cooler chat’ and share stories, and tips.


About the Author

Robert Rawson is the Founder of TimeDoctor.com – an SaaS time tracking and productivity app. Here he shares his top tips for navigating the tricky intersection of being a working parent while in isolation.

 

A BALANCING ACT: CARING FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND YOUR PARENTS

A BALANCING ACT: CARING FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND YOUR PARENTS

So you grew up and had a family. You’re constantly running around chasing after your kids and you’re always tired but it’s rewarding so you don’t mind. But something else is niggling in the back of your mind – your ageing parents.

You always saw your parents as people who would always be around to look after you and give you guidance, but now they’re retired and getting on in life and you’re not quite sure how you should go about helping them.

While parents want to be cared about, they may not necessarily want to be cared for. The question is – how do you look after ageing parents while letting them maintain their independence and care for your own children at the same time?

 Well, there’s no one clear cut answer, but here are a few ideas that could help guide you in the right direction.

Let your children and your parents care for each other

Why not let your kids spend more time with their grandparents? If your parents live far away this could be difficult but you could fly or drive your kids to where your parents live during the school holidays and let them spend the summer together. Nothing makes people feel younger than being surrounded by youth. Your kids will also enjoy getting to spend time with relatives they don’t normally see and build strong relationships with them and be exposed to different activities. After all, love is the best way to learn.

If your parents live nearby you could plan a weekly time to drop the kids over at your parents’ house so they can do things together like baking or an outdoor activity. Everyone needs a break from their kids every now and again so you could plan to do something with your partner while your kids are visiting their grandparents.

Buy a personal alarm

Mum and/or dad is ageing and you’re worried about their personal safety. Falls are common in elderly people and as many as one in three have experienced one. What do you do when your parents need support but want to continue to live independently at home. There are many personal alarms on the market that are designed to let ageing people keep their independence.

Buying one for your elderly parents is a great idea especially when you’re pre-occupied with your children and can’t always check up on your parents. 

The safest type of alarm is a fully monitored one, where any alarm presses go through to a 24/7 response centre manned by trained professionals.  A personal alarm is a device worn around the neck or wrist that has a button on it that can be pressed in times of need. The alarm alerts the monitoring centre and they then call the client in distress to see what help is needed. If it’s not an emergency situation then the family or a friend  is called to help. In the event of an emergency an ambulance will be called to assist. A personal alarm can give you peace of mind when your elderly parents live alone.   

Check out if your parents are eligible for a Home Care Package

A home care package is one of the ways that older Australians can access affordable care and service to support them living at homeSearch for a local home care package provider.  From personal care, therapy and food prep to domestic assistance, home maintenance and assistive technology (such as personal alarms). Search for a local home care package provider.

Say ‘yes’ when people ask to help

Sometimes it’s fine to accept you have too much on your plate and need an extra hand. Next time someone offers to help – take them up on it. If your partner offers to take the kids to school in the morning, let them do it. No one is capable of doing everything and if you try and take on too much then it will only result in stress and anxiety. Your friends and family are there to help and often want to do more.

Especially as your kids get older, make them do more around the house to help you out. You may find that your parents are struggling to keep up with maintaining their house so you could think about hiring a cleaner to come around once a week just to give the place a tidy up. If hiring a cleaner is out of you and your parents’ budget, then encourage your kids to help out around the garden or dust down the house next time you take them to see their grandparents. You could throw in some pocket money as an incentive.   

With the ‘Sandwich Generation’ there’s certainly no easy way to care for both your kids and your parents but with these tips it could make it easier. Sometimes you can feel helpless and stuck in the middle but it’s important to remember that you’re never alone and there’s always someone to help if you really need it.

Story Karen Smith

STUDY NOOKS

STUDY NOOKS

A fresh school year is upon us, which means shopping for new stationery, textbooks and backpacks. With all this schoolwork, comes homework. It’s been proved that studying or working in a quiet, comfortable area improves focus. We’ve compiled some ideas to help you create the perfect work-from-home or study nook.

Get into the zone

Creating a silent, well-lit space is essential to get those study juices flowing. Decorate the space with light colours and paintings and plants to create a positive learning zone. If you want to take it a step up, invest in a diffuser to fill the room with pleasant scents.

Stay organised

A tidy space equals a tidy mind – it may surprise you how clean and organised surroundings can positively affect your ability to focus. Having an organised desk area really helps you to be a more productive with your studies. Add some drawers and shelves to keep studying materials and textbooks in check. A calendar or notice board can be great to keep you on track and motivated.

Get comfy

Sometimes it’s hard to make studying fun, but you can always make it comfortable! Opt for a comfy desk chair and pillows with simple yet cute designs, or take it a step up and build a reading corner lined with pillows, blankets, and of course, all the materials required to study. Just don’t get too comfy or you may fall asleep!

A new year of school will also bring a new flood of classes, study materials, and of course, homework. Keep your children (or yourself) inspired and organised by providing a functional and welcoming place to achieve all those homework goals.