Balancing Parenting and Returning to Work During COVID-19
Posted in: COVID-19
Armed with new policies regarding COVID-19, many employers are prepared for their staff to return to physical worksites. This shift from working remotely and all that comes with it (e.g. being full-time employees, teachers, babysitters, etc.) to returning to work in your former lifestyle will no doubt be an adjustment for both you and your family. While you may be relieved to get back to structured time and a steady income, you may also have concerns about how your kids, who’ve adjusted to you working from home for several months, will react and cope. Here are some tips on how to make the process less stressful for your children when you return to work.
Get the safety facts before returning to work
Before heading back to work, be sure to openly communicate with your supervisor about any concerns or questions you may have about the health and safety protocols at your place of employment. By doing this, you can gain confidence that you will be protected and can then reassure your children who may be worried that you’ll catch the coronavirus at work.
Keep the conversation going
Be sure to tell your children ahead of time that you’ll be returning to work, but don’t end the conversation there. Children of all ages are impacted by sudden changes in their family and home life more than you may think. They need someone they trust to discuss (on a regular basis) any fears they have associated with the coronavirus, offer solutions to any problems they may be facing while adjusting to their new conditions, and provide overall physical and emotional support.
Establish daily routines
During these uncertain times, it is critical for parents to set and follow a consistent daily routine with clear rules for your household. Now more than ever, your kids need clear structure and morals to follow both when you are at home and out working. Set standards now, while you are still with them all day, so that when you return to work, they will have a stable jumping off point. Before returning to work, reassure them that their routine will remain steady, and explain any necessary deviations. This will give them clear expectations and take away any stress that they’re expected to navigate when you’re gone.
Prioritize one-on-one time
When you return home from work, commit to spending one-on-one time with your children. Although you may have had a tiring day, remember that your kids have been anxiously waiting to see you. Immediately establishing connection through things like a hug or asking about their day can be more effective than putting them off for a few hours.
Check in regularly
Develop a regular habit of contacting your kids during breaks at work. Calling to say hello and to see how things are going during your lunch break will remind them that you care even when you are not at home. These regular check-ins can give your kids a much-needed boost of encouragement during a long stretch without you. These habits provide a sense of comfort and support—especially for younger children.
Make family plans
While many vacations and events have been put on hold due to COVID-19, businesses, parks, beaches, and other venues are gradually re-opening. Now is the perfect time to schedule family outings for the fall and winter. Future outings are exciting to plan together and give everyone something to look forward to in the coming months. Have a brainstorming session with your kids to give them a sense of investment and ownership over the plans.
Address mental health
Changes in your kids’ behavior (from acting clingier and more anxious to fighting more often) can be warning signs of an underlying mental health issue. Rather than ignoring such behavior changes and letting any negative feelings build, consider scheduling a virtual counseling appointment with a professional for your child to safely discuss how they’re feeling. A brief session can give your child the outlet and tools they need to cope with any worries or disruptions that COVID-19 has caused.
PSA is here to support our clients while they are returning to work. If you have questions about the content of this blog, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also visit our COVID-19 Business Resources for relevant updates and educational materials regarding the pandemic.