A few parents have asked how to support children at the same time as working from home, often in very small spaces. The daily plans here are designed to include plenty of activities that children can do independently or with minimal support.
You can make it easier by:
- Using a visual timetable so that they know what’s coming;
- Being clear about which time is with an adult and which is independent;
- Being kind to yourself and realistic about what you can do.
Young children like to know what’s going on – they don’t always feel in control of their day-to-day and visual calendars can really help with that.
All my plans have a visual at the top to show children what’s coming throughout the day, like this:
If you’re using my day plan, use the visual calendar to talk through what is happening today. You can refer to it every time they ask what’s coming next or if they can watch TV yet.
It’s easy to make your own using these printable cards or calendar that you can cut out and stick on to. Choose the activities and put them in order with your children there (or let them choose) so that they can understand how the day is put together. Then refer to it throughout the day to help children understand what’s happening now and next.
Independent and supported time
They want you attention all the time, of course, but it’s much easier for them to hear “I will play with you when it is art time” than “I can’t play with you right now.”
As you make or talk through the timetable, make it clear who is doing what. If you need to work during some of these times and are able to tell them in advance it should help.
I’ve made some Who’s helping me? visuals especially for this:
Decide at the start of the day (if you can) if each activity is independent and or must be with a grown up.
You can print and cut them out from this document to add to your calendar or to refer to as the day goes on.
Be kind to yourself
Some of you are working from home, are key workers going into work or have multiple children at home. Some of us are going to be ill. There are loads of reasons not to expect your house to be an actual school right now so please don’t set your expectations too high.
All of my daily plans include audiobooks, television programmes and games that are good quality and safe for your children to access independently as well as activities you can start them off with and then provide a little support whilst you get on with other stuff (or just get some rest).
This weekend I will put together a page or two just focused on these independent activities as a go-to guide.