This article was written by Ax3 Studios Operations Manager Extraordinaire, Marika Andersson. She like so many are home trying to work with their families, partners and all the distractions of home life around. She agreed to share her thoughts and tips.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us have, at some point throughout our careers, worked with people who were distracting, loud, intrusive, demanding, messy, or even downright obnoxious. What I never expected was to have a coworker that embodies all of those traits, sometimes simultaneously. This new, difficult, colleague of mine is no one less than my two and a half year old boy, Benjamin. Like thousands of parents across the country, #Covid-19 has made us face a new reality where we are caring for our children while working remotely.
Nevertheless, the show must go on. We all have work that needs to get done, and so I’ve shared some of my strategies I use to maintain what’s left of my sanity.
Your New Assistant –
Most toddlers LOVE to learn new skills and feel independent, so why not put them to use to make your day easier.
- “Make lunch”
Our play “stove* is being put to use every day now when my toddler is in charge of making lunch. We also used old magazines to find, and cut out, pictures of food from ads and recipes that my toddler assistant “cooked” and made us for lunch.
*No toy stove? No problems! Use any larger cardboard box you have at home, and draw a stove top that your toddler can color while you get some work done! Pinterest has some great ones that you can look at for inspiration.
- The recycle bin treasures
Reuse those old documents before they go in the recycle and make your toddler assistant “help” you with your daily work. Some tasks that Benjamin gets assigned is to shred (rip) paper before tossing it, and to make sticker collages or drawings on documents that would’ve been thrown away. You can also assign your toddler to write addresses and decorate envelopes from the opened mail.
If your toddler is a little older than mine, perhaps it’d be a perfect opportunity to make them practice their scissors skill and cut out scrap paper you both can use.
- The Printer Executive
A plain old printer can be oh so exciting: it lights up, makes sounds, and can magically spit out paper with letters and images on it – sometimes in color!.
You can assign your new assistant to wait by the printer (I make mine count to 10 twice while waiting) and fetch you the print outs. We placed our printer across the room so he gets to run back and forth. Very exciting for your toddler, super convenient for you.
- Break time
Like all bosses, you need to give your assistant breaks; and yourself a break from her/him! A way to make the pause last longer is to gift wrap your child’s snacks, or toys to make them more excited about and wrapped up about it (no pun intended).
You can find some great sustainable options for this by looking up reusable gift wrapping fabrics on Etsy.
- Meeting the deadlines
Planning out your day thoroughly is truly key here. Does your child take naps or sleep in? Perhaps your little one likes to sleep early? Plan things around the toddler’s sleeping schedule and utilize that time for any time-sensitive, tedious work tasks.
Take a breath then accept and embrace the reality
Remember that this is a pandemic, and people worldwide are being impacted in one way or another. Use that perspective in your new daily life and know that things will not be done as seamlessly as they normally are for anyone. Others around you have struggles, too and they won’t judge you for yours.
In any case, I can assure you that you are doing great, and that your toddler is super excited to spend so much extra time with you!
Stay safe and remember to have:
Clean Hands, Clear Heads & Open Hearts