How to work from home with kids – coping with the pressure

Home-schooling your children while working can bring plenty of pressures.

Home-schooling your children while working can bring plenty of pressures.

As more of us turn to self-isolation, the burden of work and home-schooling is becoming a scary reality, writes Jonathan Ratcliffe, Senior Broker at

Ratcliffe is today exploring some coping strategies to help home-workers cope with what might be the most challenging period of life so far, as the coronavirus spreads and the UK government urges people to work from home where possible.

In Norway parents have already been told to home school their kids for two months. They have a set workload to teach and submissions must be submitted each day at 2pm.

It might not come to that in the UK, but how do you even begin to cope with work pressure and home-schooling deadlines like that?

“Our kids were off school yesterday both with dry coughs, therefore we are in self-isolation for the near future from today. The reality of home schooling whilst trying to keep on working is very daunting indeed,” explains Ratcliffe.

Working from home is tough. Home schooling is very tough. So, if you must combine the two for a long period of time, how are you going to cope?

You are going to have to plan well, get organised and work to a strict timetable if you want to get everything done. Equally, you’ll need to have a proper split between work, school, fun and rest.

“The first thing you need to do is lower your expectations of what you are going to achieve, both with work and schooling. If you try to do too much the experience is going to be highly stressful,” Ratcliffe adds.

  • Lower your expectations of what you will achieve with work
  • Simplify your day into a set routine
  • Don’t try and achieve too much
  • Pause and try and appreciate moments with your kids

Here are 10 tips on how to survive:

Start early and at the same time each day: Routine is important for good sleep and mental health, for both you and your kids. School starts at a set time, so make sure you are ready and stick to the timetable.

Get dressed properly like teacher and student: Getting showered and dressed is important to divide sleep and school.

Create spaces for different activities: You might set up a teaching room (kitchen), quiet room (spare bedroom) and a play area (living room).

Structure your day like a school day: Teaching time, activity time, play time and lunch time – just like their normal school routine.

Make a plan with your kids: At the start of the day ask them what they want to do (within reason) so they feel involved.

Turn off your phone: How are your kids meant to feel involved if you are checking emails? Ensure there’s a division between your working time and your schooling.

Set aside breaks for TV, iPad and exercise: Use these times productively to schedule work emails or calls.

Take exercise: Depending on where you live, and if you have a garden or not – try to get some fresh air. This also allows you some headspace and can be vital for your mental wellbeing.

Finish at a set time, bedtime at a set time: By getting a routine drilled in early on, you can try to get the kids to sleep at a sensible time, thereby giving yourself some space to work if you need to.

Don’t be tempted to hit the wine: If you can, evening time will be the only real time you can realistically work. If you drink your concentration will be poor, sleep poor and you’ll wake in a grumpy mood. Try to keep drinking to a minimum.

“We are heading into unchartered territory here and no one knows what life will look like at the end,” says Ratcliffe.

“It’s important to realise that time with your kids is a gift, don’t try to do too much – hopefully we can all stay relatively positive through this difficult time.”