7 Practical Tips on Parenting Human During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 27, 2020 Holly Hazelton

4-minute read

working at home with kids

I’m grateful for all my fellow colleagues at Workhuman® who are working parents. Many of us have young children and we’ve talked at length about best practices for working from home during a snow day or when our children are sick.

In this community, lifting each other up is a daily practice, now more than ever. We’re all adjusting to our new normal. It’s changing daily, and at times it certainly ain’t easy.

With school closures all over the world, most of us are now taking on the new role of home-schooling our littles on top of everything else. So, how can you bring your best self to work and be a kick-ass parent during a global pandemic?

Here are our top six practical tips for parenting human in this new reality:

1. Keep your priorities in check. Now more than ever, it’s time to hone in on what really matters. Our health, and that of our family and friends, should always be top priority. If you are like many parents stuck at home with no childcare, “Keep doing what you would have done prior to all of this.” This simple yet poignant advice from our VP of Customer Marketing Chris DeMeo shines a light on what working parents face every day. The only difference? Now, we’re facing it 24/7. If you or your child had a doctor’s appointment two months ago, what would you do? You’d put your family first.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to plan a childcare vs. work schedule with my husband and simply block those times in my calendar. This brings me to our next tip.

2. Over-communicate! Whether via Slack, email, a phone call, or text, make sure you are over-communicating with your manager and teammates. Let them know your availability and when/if you’ve reached capacity. These are not the days for working parents to “do it all and do it well.” Give yourself permission to skip tasks or put them off until the next day. And when you do, lean on your colleagues for support! Let them know when you’re struggling, and don’t be afraid to raise your hand if you need help.

3. Practice gratitude. This is a big one, of course. For my own mental health, keeping a daily gratitude journal has been essential. On a personal level, I’m grateful my 3-year-old has a little buddy to play with when she can’t see her school friends and for the fact that we are all healthy. Professionally, having the opportunity to recognize my peers and receive recognition in return makes me feel more connected to them when we don’t get to see each other in person.

4. Get outside and move your body. This one comes from our managing editor, Sarah Payne. Whether going out for a meditative run or a family walk in the evening, do your best to get outside, breathe fresh air, and exercise. Anne Lafond, marketing manager for Workhuman® Live, agrees: “With older kids, make sure you get outside with them. They could play Fortnite all day, so it’s important to give them something else to look forward to.”

If it’s still rainy and cold like most days here in Boston, my fellow Parenthuman committee member and Director of Product Management Amy Osband encourages us to embrace the weather: “Bundle up, put on rain boots, and grab an umbrella! It's nothing a hot bath or a hot chocolate couldn’t fix.”

Alternatively, look for exercise classes online. Many studios now offer free streaming classes – including for the little ones!

Lily birthday

5.Celebrate life events. Yes, we’re all quarantined. No, the world didn’t stop spinning. So please, keep celebrating life events with your friends and family! This past weekend, we hosted my daughter Lily’s first birthday party via Zoom. She enjoyed seeing her grandparents’ faces while she fervently shoved cake into hers.

Back at “the office” my colleagues are being recognized for getting new puppies, having babies, and winning home brew competitions. Take a moment to let your colleagues know you’re still paying attention to these memorable life moments.

6. Focus on sleep. According to the World Health Organization, stress during an infectious disease outbreak can cause difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Combine this with children’s sleep schedules changing, and it can make for a bumpy road. Be kind to yourself. Remember to give yourself time to wind down at night and stay in a routine for your own sleep hygiene. For more tips on how to get better sleep, see former Workhuman Live speaker Arianna Huffington’s 12 Tips for Better Sleep

7. Have fun. Laughter is the best medicine. Update your Zoom background to something that’s on brand and adds a bit of humor. Our director of audience acquisition, Jeff Graham, made The Simpsons his background, for example. Slack your peers about what your “co-workers” (kids) have done recently, or dress up like an airplane pilot for your marketing team happy hour. Whatever your M.O., have fun with it and try not to sweat the small stuff. We’re all in this together!

Watch today's episode of "Keeping Work Human," covering tips for working parents.


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About the Author

Holly Hazelton

Holly manages Social Media at Workhuman and is also the Co-Founder of the Parents at Workhuman Employee Resource Group. When she's not Tweeting about how to bring more humanity to work, you can find her reading, hiking, rocking out to live music, or traveling with her husband and two daughters.

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