Working from home during COVID-19 Pandemic

When I began working from home a year ago my then 1 ½ year old daughter would often ask me, ‘Can you play with me now, Mama?’ ‘Not yet’ I would explain, ‘I have to do some work’ which would leave me feeling really guilty; however, the alternative made me feel stressed and under pressure having not achieved enough for work! Let’s just say working from home took some practice.

Within a day of our CEO Vincent Natoli announcing the Stone Ridge Technology office would shut, the SRT team was organized in their home offices and ready to take on the ‘new normal’ working from home arrangement to do their part in containing the coronavirus. Almost all of us have children (currently at home ALL the time!) so naturally one of our first team discussions on our Slack account turned to how productivity can be maintained in a full house.

Across the world many parents are trying to navigate this same scenario as businesses and schools close their doors in response to the spread of the coronavirus. We are all in this together (separately!) so I thought I would share my top three activities to keep young children entertained before you have to join your next conference call or meet a deadline. All you need is… creative and imaginary play! Stimulating your child’s imagination doesn’t require much more than you already have at home:

- Pillow Fort: Build a fort out of chairs, sheets and pillows and make it as comfortable as possible. Put your child’s cuddly toys inside the fort with their favourite books and encourage your child to read to their animals (my daughter is 2, she doesn’t know how to read, but she will happily look at pictures for a long while). Once little C has finished looking at books, I often find she will entertain herself for a good while by creating her own imaginary game in there.

- Toy Car Park: If your child has toy cars, make little (or large!) car parks all over the lounge using boxes and other objects as buildings to surround the cars. Create fun, visual and imaginary stories - tell them the cars are waking up and have a lot to do today, start the story off with them and (hopefully!) they will continue.

- Workstations: In Montessori schools children have different workstations around the classroom, re-create this at home using the coffee table, the kitchen table, the floor, a play mat, the fort(!) and so on. One workstation could be used for puzzles, the next a jungle of animal toys, another could be play dough and so on.

Then, when you take breaks, be with your children. Eat together during mealtimes (little C and I often also have a tea party in the afternoon). Have your child get involved in the preparation of each meal, setting the table, mixing, pouring, counting the ingredients and so on. This is a wonderful activity to do together and will create a routine where they know, at that point in the day, they get to be with you!

I am not claiming any of this is easy – it took time for my daughter and I to find our groove. This is a challenging period for everyone, little people especially, but being stuck under one roof can also be an opportunity to enjoy more time together as a family. I hope you find these ideas helpful and look forward to hearing your tips in return below!

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