Appreciating the little things: stories from Broadsign parents settling into working from home with kids

April 1, 2020Samantha Brault

With schools closed and parents at home, companies around the world have suddenly inherited a group of new interns. But while these interns are darn cute, having them around 24/7 can be quite the challenge, especially when trying to get work done.

As all of us are adjusting into week three of our work from home situation, here are a few takeaways some Broadsign parents had to share.

Get your kids involved in the cause

This is a confusing time for many kids, but if they’re old enough, getting involved can give them a sense of empowerment during this uncertainty. In many countries, kids are finding ways to connect with other kids, like by setting up teddy bears in windows in Australia or placing rainbows in windows in Montreal.

One of our coworker’s daughter really got into it:

My daughter was so excited when she found out about the rainbow trend and wanted to get involved right away. We got her paint and she started with our living room, but then we couldn’t stop her! Every one of our front-facing windows will soon be covered in her artwork. 

Do what you can to maintain boundaries

When possible, set boundaries, either physical or using schedules, for work versus play. Help your kids to set up their own work stations and schedules, and try to maintain the boundaries both ways. For example, if it’s dance time on their schedule, try to not have lunch ready at the same time.

Though as our one of our salespeople explained, it doesn’t necessarily work our as planned:

I’ve been hiding out in the bathroom to take important calls. This generally works well, except sometimes my kids find me and bang on the door like a SWAT team about to break in. You’d think they needed something important. Nope. ”Daddy we just wanted to check in on you to see if you needed anything.” 

In the long run, it doesn’t matter

If you find yourself struggling to get your school-aged children to focus on their school work, or to stop your teenagers from spending all of their waking time on their devices, while also trying to get your own work done, try to remember that in 10 years, when your children are grown and out of school, this period will be nothing but a blip in their educational experience. 

Here’ what one Broadsigner and dad of four (!!!!) had to say: 

My wife and I have read dozens of articles, taken advice from multiple teachers, and listened to all the “experts” in our attempts to get our four kids to be productive and give us time to get our own work done. We’ve created schedules, tried to set boundaries, ensured the kids took enough breaks, and even tried rewards (read: bribes). Needless to say, all of these strategies haven’t worked out as well as we had hoped. But over the last few days, we’ve learned to stress less and accept that in the long run, this won’t indelibly negatively affect our kids. 

Teach your kids new things

School is out, but kids are eager to keep learning. This can be either following along with school material, learning new skills or introducing them to new hobbies. You’ve probably seen countless resources for tips, online classes and workshops, so we won’t list them here.

Instead, one of our colleagues leaves you with this advice:

Be careful about what you choose to teach your kids! I taught my 5-year-old to gamble but once she started winning, she got addicted and started cheating at dice! My four-year-old now also pretends to be drunk after she eats toast made of the beer bread we baked together. 

Appreciate the little things

Most parents are more than a bit overwhelmed with this whole thing, and that’s ok, but this makes it easy to overlook the small wins. Taking a moment to enjoy a few moments with your kids can build your bond and also see them in a new light – a light you can hopefully remember when they are being little terrors.

Most Broadsigners are based in Montreal, and with our crazy weather, a few things parents have mentioned appreciating is shovelling the deck with their kids, or watching their daughters build a snowman from the window of the home office.

Celebrate the big things

With most people experiencing more stress and worry than usual, celebrating special moments is more important than ever. This is especially true for kids, who might not fully understand why they can’t see their friends or why their favourite park is closed. 

One of our VP’s son turned 12 last week, and she made sure his day was full of little surprises: 

My son was really brave and didn’t blink an eye about the lack of a party, but deep down we knew he was disappointed – and heck, you only turn 12 once! To make the day special, we blew up balloons the night before to have a festive scene in the morning, which we paired with presents and breakfast in bed. Throughout the day, I organized facetime calls with his friends. And for the grand finale, we ordered takeout from his favorite burger joint followed by his favorite cake. It wasn’t your traditional birthday, but I think he felt very loved!

And if all goes to hell, try to see the humour in it

Things will inevitably go wrong, and when they do, it’s best not to sweat it. Don’t forget, most parents are in the same boat as you! 

Here’s a tip on how to make the best of any situation, from another one of our VPs:

For a good laugh, try telling the story of something your kids did, but replace “kids” with “colleague”. For example, this just happened to me: I just had to try to keep my cool after my colleague decided to come into my room during a video call with a very important client, swinging one of my bras around in the air.