Remote work while the children are home – A practical tip to conquer this challenge

Katariina Ahonen

20.03.2020

How to make remote working possible during this epidemic while your children run around and need something to do? Katariina Ahonen, the operative manager at Kaiku Helsinki shares her tip.

We at the communications agency Kaiku Helsinki started remote working last week, just like in many other organisations. We have been using virtual facilitation tools for years, so our work community adjusted to this change quickly.

The challenge now is how to be able to work with your children at home. I’ll share my best tips on how I managed to work and keep my 5- and 8-year-old children entertained at the same time. My colleague Laura Vuorio-Kuokka also successfully tested this method in her family.

The method of Kata being tested in the home of our coach Laura.

To-do list for children – this is how you accomplish it:

  1. Write different activities on small notes. You can plan these activities together with your children.
  2. Make the frame of their daytime routine and place lunch times and other possible breaks on the list.
  3. Let children choose from the activities and plan when they want to do each activity. It’s fine even if the schedule of the day is a bit tight, you can skip the extras – working is much easier when there aren’t little ones running around with nothing to do.
  4. If there’s older children in the family, write schoolwork on the notes also – schoolwork must be placed on the board, but they can choose when they want to do it. Similarly, in our case outdoor activities in the yard were mandatory at some point during the day.
  5. Watching a show or a movie or playing on their phones can only be chosen for a limited amount.
  6. If you want to place housework on the lists or reward for diligent schoolwork, you can organise prizes for the points. The orange notes in the photo are tasks that you can get points from. When there’s enough of the points, the children get a nice reward, a movie night at home or a bigger reward if they persistently do their tasks.

Remember to check what the children have chosen the previous night. For example, treasure hunting demands preparations the night before. This I have experience from, as I was preparing the treasure hunt at 10pm last night. And if there are two adults in the family, you can agree on reaction duty. The one on duty primarily answers when the children have something to ask. You can also participate grandparents remotely.

Grandparents can join in – even remotely!

Experiences from yesterday: the kids didn’t have time to do all their activities on the list, but on the other hand there wasn’t a dull moment. The 5- and 8-year olds went through the list surprisingly independently. Of course during certain activities, like going outdoors and schoolwork, they needed a little help.

Ideas for activities (depending on what you can find from home): Lego, crafts, slime, water colours, colouring (you can print pictures from the internet), car and train track, stuffed animals, writing a journal, treasure hunt, dinosaur world, relaxation for children, listening to audiobooks or reading, watching a show or a movie, playing, board games, magic sand, doll house, video call to grandparents. For going outdoors, I recommend you take some equipment, like a football or a frisbee.

In addition, we are testing something new today: the grandparents are going to help the children with their schoolwork through a videocall. I can tell you how it worked out later!

And because children are so creative, I want to show what a child can make with a A4 paper and a cow eraser. May I present you: cow Muukkonen on his laptop. The set also includes a schoolbook, a bed and the vehicles of cow Muukkonen.

Cow Muukkonen by Kata’s children.

 

About the author:

Katariina Ahonen, the operative manager at Kaiku Helsinki, is a communications professional with over 10 years of experience. She has worked in managerial roles and in the executive board of Kaiku Helsinki for four years. Kata is interested in the human side of leadership – how completely different people have found a way to lead and communicate.

 

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