Working from home can be challenging enough if you’re not used to it, whether it’s for your job or working on your dissertation or thesis. If you have children at home, this might add a bit of a challenge – after all, whether they’re toddlers or tweens, children need and want their parents’ attention, albeit in very different ways. Having children at home from the start can be tricky, but if they’re home because of COVID-19 and you’re not used to having them around all day, it might be especially so.

We know you still have deadlines to meet and projects to finish, and many areas are projecting school closures for at least several weeks. Here are some tips on how to stay on track (and not lose your mind) while your kids are home.

Set the tone. Children are remarkably adept at sensing the atmosphere around them. If you’re stressed, panicked, resentful, or angry, the chances are good that they’ll feel it. Talk with them in an age-appropriate way about what is going on, and explain everything in positive terms. Stick to a schedule or daily rhythm to help add structure to their days (it will also help you!) and try to stay calm.

Develop a routine. This is for you as much as for the children! Children thrive on routine and structure, and most older children still have daily assignments to do. A routine will help everyone stay on track. For you, invest in a planner (either paper or electronic, even on your phone) and make a schedule – and stick to it!

…But know that things happen. Part of this will be going with the flow. It might take some time to find what works best for you and your family. Maybe mornings are when you can be most productive, or maybe it’s later, after the kids go to bed. Be patient and feel it out as you go, and if you need to modify schedules each day for various reasons, don’t let that stress you out; just re-calibrate.

Set goals. Don’t get carried away, but set some realistic goals for yourself, both short-term and long-term. Reward yourself for each goal you meet and keep moving forward.

Use time wisely. Do your kids nap? Work away! Especially right now, it might be beneficial to relax a little about screen time and let them watch a movie or educational program while you finish up a work project, take meetings, or return phone calls. Working from home with kids is a dance that involves juggling and where a little creativity goes a long way.

Boundaries. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries – with your partner, with friends, with your kids, and with family. In addition to your day job, your dissertation or thesis is also your job, and requires just as much attention. It’s okay to set some boundaries with your kids, like “when my office door is closed, please let me work unless there’s an emergency,” or something similar, depending on the situation and their ages.

Above all, don’t forget to communicate – with everyone. At times like this, emotions are high, stress is increased, and this kind of situation is new to everyone. Communicating your needs, expectations, and feelings is important to help things run smoothly.

Here at Thesis Editor, we know how easy it can be to become overwhelmed with a dissertation or thesis, especially if your daily academic situation has changed or if your children are home while you work. Some of us are in your situation now, working remotely while also having children at home. Our team of professional editors and statisticians are here to help guide and support you. Contact us today to learn more!

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My statistician, Dr. Williams, helped me think through some of the challenges I've been having with the analyses, provided some helpful resources, and gave me a big boost of confidence. Dr. Williams and Dr. Leach were both very accommodating given my tight deadline. I really appreciated their support.