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Managing Work/Family During Social Distancing

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Now that the United States has implemented social distancing to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, many people are finding themselves working from home, homeschooling their children, and caring for a home.

Each of these tasks is a full-time job in itself, so managing three at one time can feel overwhelming. However, you don’t have to feel like you’re drowning. Here are some tips for navigating these foreign waters.


Understand Expectations

In a perfect world, you could make a schedule, and everything would fall into the designated time frames. However, we all know that’s not real life.

School work for your children may be sent home in packets or moved to an online environment, and you may be working from a laptop at home. School and work hours generally take place at the same time, so consider reaching out to your children’s teachers to find out what your children should accomplish each day.

Contact your supervisor to communicate your needs and understand their expectations. Some employers require online work hours from certain times, while other places are more flexible. Find out how much work needs to be done per day and when you need to be available for meetings. Communication is key to finding common ground between parenting, teaching, and working.

Get into a Routine

Setting up a tentative daily schedule will help you stay organized and sane. You may find it beneficial to wake up before the kids to grab a shower, brew some coffee, and ready things for the day, just like you normally would. Even 10 minutes to get yourself situated can set a positive tone for the day.

As you work, get up once an hour to get in some movement and rest your eyes. Take a lunch break to recharge and refocus. If you have children at home with you, try to keep some form of routine with them.

If you’d rather they get work done in the morning and play in the afternoon, try to stick to that daily. However, not every day will go as planned, and that’s perfectly fine. The routine is simply there for guidance and consistency.

Plan Family Time

With all the things that need to be done in a day, family time will likely be the first to be put on a back burner. However, your family is probably coping with a lot of emotions too, so now is the perfect time to eat dinner as a family, play games, go outside in the backyard, and have conversations.

Evening time does not have to be elaborate. Our busy lives now have to slow down, and you may make some of the best memories. The laundry can wait — yes, it really can.

Give Yourself Grace

The next few weeks will be challenging. However, think about how you have been able to adapt to a totally new lifestyle, literally overnight. Make sure to recharge in some form of self-care, whether it be going for a walk alone, reading a book, or taking a bath.

Talk to your spouse or a best friend about the highs and lows of the day. And most importantly, don’t hold yourself to unattainable standards. Share in house duties and don’t try to take on everything yourself.

Give yourself grace when you don’t get all of the to-do list done, and pat yourself on the back at the end of each day. This time of social distancing evokes all sorts of emotions, but taking one day at a time and accepting things in stride will help you manage and cope in healthy ways.

What types of things are you doing to manage your current lifestyle? Leave your suggestions below.

Nicole_Thompson_2021-1Nicole Thompson is a contributing writer and editor to the Lincoln Learning blog. She brings more than a decade of experience in education, curriculum, and communications to her blogs. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master of Science in Instructional Leadership, with certifications in secondary English and Communications. Nicole is married with four children and has a spunky golden retriever named Cinder and a rescue dog named Annie Banannie.