Given that a large number of us are finding ourselves confined at close quarters with our loved ones right now and that no one quite knows when that might change, we’ve come up with 5 tips to help you work out how to get organized, now that the whole family is trying to live, work and go to school in the same space. We’re sorry that we can’t provide an instruction manual, unfortunately it hasn’t been written yet but we hope that these tips will give you some ideas so you can maybe create your own.
Tip number 1: Communicate, communicate, communicate!
It might feel right now like you’re being assaulted from all sides with questions, doubts and complaints. As much as you might want to scream out loud for everybody to leave you alone, it won’t help! It’s important to discuss as a family, and to explain to your kids what’s going on. It’s totally ok to not have all the answers or to feel worried yourself, nobody expects you to be superhuman. But it is important for you to talk to each other openly, to filter information and reassure them, and to explain to the kids that you’re now like a football team, where everybody has their role to play to win the game.
Tip number 2: Organise your living space!
Does it feel like you have no control over anything anymore? Well, here’s the good news! You can always influence what’s going on at home! Whether you’re in a small apartment or a large house, the same rules apply – keep it organized and tidy and you’ll all feel a whole lot better. Clearly mark out spaces for work and relaxing. You might also want to mark out a ‘I want to be alone’ space, where you can go and catch your breath from the whirlwind around you. Use the excuse that it’s spring and get everyone involved in sprucing the place up and creating a space you can all live and work in, in the coming weeks.
Tip number 3: Establish a new routine!
We’re not going to remind you that it’s probably better for all concerned if you all shower regularly, but we are going to encourage you to create your ‘rules of containment’. This will give you, the parents, the chance to define the non-negotiables and the kids the chance to express their preferences. This way everyone can commit to their contribution to making things work smoothly. If both of you are working from home, then review the critical periods of your day together and agree when you’ll take turns with the children.
Tip number 4: Be creative!
It’s time to sort through the toy boxes, take out the old decks of cards and dominoes and take advantage of the thousands of apps available on the internet to do some exercise or cooking with your family. Let your children suggest the activities, their creativity will surprise you. And the 15 minutes that you spend playing guessing games or making a collage will be returned to you a hundredfold.
Tip number 5: Be patient!
When you feel like you’re about to explode, that you’re about to tear your hair out, that’s the time to go to your ‘I want to be alone’ space to breathe, to read, to listen to music, or to stick your head out the window to get some fresh air, so you can gather your thoughts and refocus. Normally we complain that we don’t spend enough time together, so let’s turn this confinement into an opportunity to rediscover each other and to grow together.
We hope that you found our 5 tips for parents to get organized useful. We’d love to hear what you’re doing to keep it all together and we want to wish all of you who are sometimes magicians, sometimes superheroes, sometimes teachers lots of patience and luck in the coming weeks. You guys are doing the best and most important job in the world and we’re all right behind you!