The current circumstances are creating a “new normal” for all of us and we’re all navigating through the chaos of the unknown. Many have been at a standstill when it comes to careers, while others of us are lucky for the opportunity to work from home. Working remotely can be a challenge within itself, but add home educating children into the mix and the realities can feel overwhelming.

One of the obstacles I face when working from home is distractions…I can easily get sidetracked by the next shiny thing; however, I’ve found a few things that work so I continue to make progress.

Here are some parent-tested tips to help guide you through the “new normal”:

  • Set up a schedule and have it posted: setting up routines is important not only to get things done but for creating a sense of normalcy. 
  • Discuss the norms of the workday: discuss the expectations for all involved. What progress needs to be made. When will breaks and lunch be? 
  • Do Not Disturb: have a visual aid available so the littles know that it’s work time. It is important to also block reasonable amounts of time for each “work block” … make sure to incorporate downtime (playtime) into your schedules. Most children can work in 20-45 minute intervals, so work your schedule around your children.
  • Teach life skills: use this time to teach your children real-life skills. They can learn from doing household chores, being organized, and intentional. Some of the skills include cooking, sewing, and managing a household, including financial literacy. Middle and high school students can learn automotive skills by changing the oil or tires. Adulting comes as a surprise to many high schoolers, so use this opportunity to prepare them for the real world.
  • Establish some routines: have a morning ritual and “visit” with your children before transitioning into work time. This is a good time to discuss the daily agenda and review expectations. It’s just as important to have an “end of day” routine to transition from the “workday” into being home.

This is an uncertain time for sure, but you can set a positive example for your children by modeling the behaviors that bring a sense of calm and eliminate the fears and concerns.

Here are a couple of additional tips:

  • Limit screen time and exposure to the news. You do not need to have a constant ticker tape of updates running across your screen or have every up to the minute detail of the Coronavirus. 

Bring out the board games or craft supplies and let imagination and fun fill some of the hours of the day.

  • Get up and dress for the day. It’s easy to slip into a lax routine and throw on some sweats and be done with it, but you’ll feel better and accomplish more if you “act as if” you are going out for the day, going to work, or preparing to meet with others. 

This is also a time that you can clean out the closet and work on creating a capsule wardrobe. Discard any clothes that no longer serve you, have stains, or need major repairs. Put together a mending pile and pick up a needle and thread to fix the items that are still essential pieces to your wardrobe.

  • Practice self-care daily. As a follower of the philosophy of the Indian Proverb, A House With Four Rooms, I do something daily for my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. 

Sheltering-in-place hasn’t changed my practice in any significant way. I still monitor my water, exercise, and foods. I’m reading, researching, and writing daily for my mental well-being, and I have time blocked out to work on my hobbies to hone my skills. This time spills over to my “emotional room” by giving me an opportunity to be creative and spend time in flow. I also take time daily to meditate which has helped center me during this alarming situation. My spiritual practice includes prayer and other daily practices that allow me to rely on my faith for comfort. It’s important that you practice some self-care daily. This may be anything from quiet time to a home spa day.

With a little planning, you can limit distractions and facilitate the education of your children as you build connections and memories. Use this time as a gift to create intention in your personal and professional life.


  • Lisa McGrath

    NBCT, Author, and Life Coach

    A House With Four Rooms

    Lisa is a National Board Certified Teacher and Life Coach with a unique style, perspective, and musings that encourages and empowers you to examine and create the life of your dreams. Her posts ask you to join her on A Pilgrimage to Self by finding the intentional acts that help you focus on achieving your goals and finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Her work includes inspirational, practical, and spiritual direction for everyday life as she encourages you to “air” out your own House With Four Rooms (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual). She is currently working on a memoir based on the lessons learned during her walks on the ancient pilgrims' route across Spain: the Camino de Santiago. Lisa is a teacher, life coach, artist, and entrepreneur. Aside from teaching, her favorite things include traveling, textile arts, crafting, reading, eating, camping, going to the theatre, and spending time with her family.