How are parents managing remote work while schools are closed? — TripActions Community

How are parents managing remote work while schools are closed?

A question a lot of parents are facing with schools and offices being closed is “what do I do with my kids while I’m working?” If you’re fortunate enough to only have one working parent, this challenge is a little easier, but what if both parents are working? I recently read an article that shared some great tips. I’ve listed a few below that I thought stood out. 

  • Tag team - take turns with your partner to take shifts during the day. This will mean working earlier and later into the evenings, and maybe some unusual meeting times, but if you’re struggling with this -- everyone else is too.
  • While in a normal setting we may want to minimize background noise from kids, or seeing a child on the screen, these aren’t normal times. If you have a baby, and the baby needs to be held, you may need to do so even when you’re on screen. Your colleagues will understand.
  • Plan meetings during nap time
  • Loosen screen time
  • Find educational programs and activities kids can do with less guidance or on their own (drawing, building, clay, etc. can be some great examples)
  • Allow small play dates with close friends and families. Having your child have a play date with one or two other children can be okay, so long as both families are responsible, and their home environment is low risk (doesn’t have elderly or immunocompromised inhabitants).

These are just a few ideas from the article, would love to hear what other ideas you are trying.


  • I'm in fortunate situation in which I'm with some of my extended family so we can all take turns -- but we found that taking the baby outside for a walk was a great way to give everyone else in the house some quiet space. If we each do 30 minutes, each person can work in silence for a chunk of time -- and of course naps. These suggestions you shared are great ^^

  • These are are super helpful - sending over to my best friend who is a teacher to suggest to her student's parents who are faced with this challenge as well.

    There's also another post started with some great suggestions for kids if you guys haven't seen it yet:

  • DaniaDania ✭✭

    @Ryan Schwartz Definitely sharing this with some of my friends who are now WFH and balancing kids.

  • Thanks for your tips and tricks, Ryan. I can definitely relate as my husband and I are both working from home and trying to care for our 2 year old...

    Tag teaming is really important and totally necessary right now. At the beginning of each day my husband and I sit and map out our day/schedules to try to manage coverage time needed for the day ahead. It helps put our minds at ease to understand the daily schedule ahead of time and know that we have designated times where we need to step in and cover while the other is in an important meeting, etc.

    Love your point about "trying to normalize a situation that isn't normal"... an important reminder for sure! I feel grateful that my colleagues and boss are understanding and aware of how challenging and unusual of a situation we are all operating in right now.

  • Great discussion.

    For the teenagers: In addition to school, put them in charge of some household responsibilities. My 13 year old 8th grader son has assignments to complete during the week from home (Orinda public schools). My 15 year old 9th grader son has some online instruction, and also reading /study and assignments to complete (DeLaSalle High School). His baseball coach has also assigned home workouts to stay in shape (we have the weight set in the garage, plus pushups / situps). Then, of course, it's all about family meal time and limiting video games (otherwise it would be non stop action). We played trivial pursuit Sunday night. Both boys are in charge of keeping the labradors fed and happy, and garbage/kitchen duty.

    My wife and I both working from home (one has the office, the other on the kitchen table). It's a lot easier with teenagers right now, although I'll report back in a week when cabin fever sets in for them.

  • Ian_PayneIan_Payne
    edited March 2020

    I have a wonderfully curious, active and entertaining 16 month old at home. My partner is not working but is 6 months pregnant so it's quite a challenge. We were in an apartment across one floor which made it very tough for us all. My daughter just wanted to be outside, particularly in the last week or two when we finally had good weather in Amsterdam after a long winter! She would come with her hat, coat and shows and point at the door.

    With me working and my partner in the high risk category for the virus, we couldn't take her out much at all during the day beyond trips to the balcony, which were not enough. Luckily we had already planned a move to a house prior to the Covid-19 crisis, which has been a godsend. I now have an office in the spare bedroom upstairs so my ability to join conference calls without interruption has increased dramatically :) We also have a garden so our little angel can get outside and enjoy some fresh whenever she likes, which keeps her from getting cranky being cooped up inside too much

  • Alongside my travel job I lead a womens network and together we created the content for this national media piece in the UK, you might like some of the tips (valid for all carers not just mums!)

    Top 5 tips, if you dont have time to read the extended version:

    1.     Don’t try to work at the same output rate. Most of your clients and colleagues are in the same situation and will understand.

    2.     Create a rota that splits the day into 2 uninterrupted blocks e.g. early start to lunch and then post lunch to evening.

    3.     Create a work area at home and ensure your children understand that’s a do not disturb zone (even if this needs to be your bedroom)

    4.     Plan the day so your children know what to expect. Kids respond well to the structure of school, that you can recreate together at home.

    5.     Take a whatever it takes approach, now’s not the time to be holding yourself to the highest of no-screen time parenting standards!

  • Great tips! I partner with Bagby, a digital wellness company. They are providing a free screen-time tracker during the sheltered-and-safe time. I thought it was great for families to use (even adults)! - Bagby Screen Tracker

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