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7 Tips for Parents Working from Home

It's been a little over a week of Virtual Learning at Mount Paran Christian School. With many government mandates and suggestions that workplaces operate on a "work from home" basis, parents are also finding themselves navigating new territory. Feedback from this new experience is that families have managed the transition to working from home very well! To support parents' success at home both in supporting students as well as keeping up with work demands, we'd like to share seven helpful tips to make the most of your home office experience.  

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During the day, try to separate yourself for calls, breaks, or project focus. At the end of the day, you also need to leave work behind and close the door. Perhaps a guest bedroom or other quiet, low traffic space would work best for your at-home work environment. 

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Move a table into your workspace, if there is not a desk or table already in there under which your legs can fit.  Consider a sofa table if you do not have a desk. Position your workspace “desk” so that you face a window or light source. If the light source is behind you or above you, it puts you in shadow in video meetings. Your mindset will be better if you can see outside or have light on your face. Do your best to make your workspace “desk” normal for your work habits.  This may include adding office supplies such as a stapler, tissue box, framed photo, paper clips, note pads, charging cords, a scripture that is meaningful to you, a coaster for your beverage, and at least one thing that makes you smile.





A movable chair (swivel/rollers) is best, if you have one. Consider adding a pillow to sit on or put behind your back for lumbar support. However, it is important that you do not stay in the chair for more than two hours, even with lumbar support. If you don’t have a chair like this, make your stand-up breaks more frequent — every 45 minutes or so.





Once you've established your workspace, try to limit distractions from the home phone, TV, and doorbell by turning them off during work hours.  When you are on your work campus, you can’t see these home distractions, so they don’t need to integrate into your day and become modus interruptus to what you are trying to accomplish. Be sure to give your children guidelines of not interrupting when you are on a call or virtual meeting and a "plan B" method of getting your attention during those times.




Take breaks every two hours to move around or take a walk. Don’t let the change to working from home make you sedentary. It's bad for your circulation, back, thinking, and attitude. Create established times for lunch, a time to check-in with your kids, or connect with your family about their day.




We do have to be proactive about maintaining camaraderie while at home. When meetings are necessary, apps such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams work extremely well to pipe in fresh faces. In addition, funny texts or staying connecting via work messenger systems, such as Slack, help to maintain work relationships that would be normal if you were on campus, in the office, at lunch, or on breaks. People need people, so facilitate connections whenever possible.





End your day and go "home." Don’t make your work hours extend to your early-morning or late-evening hours each day. Get off of the phone, eat dinner with your family, and chill with a book, TV series, or hobby. Get outside when weather allows. Your brain will work better tomorrow if you take time for yourself and your family. No one can sprint a marathon.


For those who are able to utilize the ideas above — you may just find that these tips make your working-from-home experience a little more comfortable and pleasant.





For parents working from home with young children, fighting cabin fever can be especially challenging. Elementary-aged children and younger often need hands-on help with schoolwork and other daily tasks, many times still relying on their parents for entertainment ideas. So, what's a parent to do? Read on for creative ideas to bust those boredom blues.

    1. Take a walk, and make it fun. By now, you've likely heard that getting outside for fresh air each day will help everyone in the family get their wiggles out. Sometimes children, especially younger kids, find walks to be "boring" or make them "too tired." Turn walks into an adventure so your kids focus on the activity instead of the physical walk. Perhaps one day you take a nature scavenger hunt, finding specific items as you walk. The next time, you could identify birds, and let your kids snap pictures of the birds on your phone. Another day, you can collect sticks to make an art project, collect roly polys to build a habitat, or collect rocks to paint.  Snap pictures of flowers or bugs and pretend to be a botanist or entomologist.
    2. Kid-created activity jar. Dr. Deborah Davis, Lower School Head at Mount Paran Christian School, encourages her elementary-aged students to create an activity jar. When students feel bored, they can turn to the jar, pull out a slip of paper, and do the activity listed on the slip. Kids can be creative and invent their own activities so that they actually want to participate when it's time to use the jar. Ideas can be imaginative or creative, such as crafting cards to mail to loved ones or to people in assisted living homes, playing hide-and-seek in the house, or building an inside tent fort.
    3. Structure and daily themes. If you haven't already, write out a daily schedule and post it on the wall for your kids to see. Having structure will help kids know when they have free time coming up and when it's time to focus on schoolwork. Devising a daily "theme" for projects can be a fun focus. Perhaps it's botany day, so, on your family walk, you can take pictures of flowers. When you get home, try to identify the flowers using books or online resources. Then, make a flower craft, such as tissue paper flowers, a flower painting, a Lego "flower garden", or Playdoh flowers. Whatever your family's interests, you can build the day's activities around the theme of the day. 
    4. Acts of kindness and connection. Just because it is a time to abstain from playdates doesn't mean your kids cannot connect with their friends. This is the time to practice writing letters, as kids love to receive cards in the mail. FaceTime calls with friends and family help to prevent isolation. And, making emergency food bags for faith-based groups to distribute can help your kids remember that we are still a community who needs to help our neighbors. (You can order supplies on Amazon so you do not have to go out shopping.)
    5. color clip chartManage expectations and set boundaries. Give yourself and your kids some grace. Things are not going to go perfectly. Some days are going to be really hard. But, eventually, you will settle into a groove as working and learning from home becomes the new norm. Consider a behavior chart for younger children to encourage positive behavior. Most kids are familiar with a color clip chart from school.


For more ideas and resources, check out Pinterest or these tips. While we may not yet know when schedules will return to normal, we can make the most of this time together.


Julie Ray serves as the MPCS Chief Financial Officer. Her home office features a tiny army of aliens on her desk —a gift from her team on her last birthday.


To learn more about the Virtual Learning program at Mount Paran Christian School, click here


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Providing academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment, Mount Paran Christian School unites with home and church to prepare servant-leaders to honor God, love others, and walk in Truth.