The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a new era of remote work for many of us, presenting both advantages and challenges. For working parents, the shift required navigating a new balance between work responsibilities and caring for our children. Even though the pandemic may be subsiding, many of us are still working from home part-time and may still struggle with finding that balance between work and family life when school is out. It’s hard not to fall back into the tech trap of letting the kids play on their screens all day.
One of the biggest challenges of working from home with children is keeping them occupied and engaged in healthy activities while we work. During school breaks, it’s easy to fall back on technology to keep them entertained, but it’s important to find that balance between screen time and other activities you used to know. Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 2 to 5 should have no more than one hour of screen time per day, while children ages 6 and older should have consistent limits on their daily screen time. Too much screen time can lead to a host of problems, including sleep disturbances, obesity, and behavioral issues.
So how can we keep our kids engaged and active again while we work from home during school breaks? One solution is to set specific times for technology use and other activities. For example, you could set up a schedule for each day that includes active breaks with you or another family member in the morning, lunch, and after work. Outside of those family times, set clear designated TV or video game time.
Another option is scheduling play dates with other kids in the neighborhood, taking a walk to the park and shooting hoops at lunchtime, enrolling them in day camps, or setting up small group sports games at home.
As you know, finding the right balance between work and parenting requires creativity and flexibility. Remembering what works best for your family may take some trial and error, but with some effort, you can keep your children engaged and active while you work from home. It’s rewarding to know your child is active and engaged while you finish your work.