Next to transitioning to remote work and online studies and coping with other immediate consequences of the pandemic, parents around the world have to take full-time care of their children and their home schooling. For professionals who are preparing for business school admission or are currently in MBA or EMBA programmes, managing work, studies, and family at home can be a challenge.
According to the UN, 1.25 billion children are currently at home as a result of lockdowns and social distancing measures in countries affected by Covid-19. With UNICEF’s recent guide for parents, you can hopefully learn how to manage the most important job in the world at this difficult time.
6 parenting tips from UNICEF
#1. Take care of yourself
Bringing up children is especially difficult when parents forget to take breaks for themselves. Make sure you have someone who understands what you are going through and talk to them. Know that you are not alone and make time for relaxation activities to help you unwind.
#2. Help children understand the situation
Depending on their age, your children might already be aware of some aspects around the Covid-19 outbreak or they might be asking questions. The only way to guide them through this time safely is to be open and honest. Answer their questions truthfully, in a way that is suitable for their age, and give them space to share their feelings.
#3. Create a new daily routine
As social distancing measures have disrupted some of our daily habits, it’s important to make new structures that can help both parents and children cope with the situation. It’s a good idea to include children and teenagers who are older in the process of creating their new routine – this will encourage them to actually follow it.
#4. Spend one-on-one time together
Although handling work, studies, and home schooling all at the same time can be stressful, staying home can be an opportunity to spend more quality time with your children. UNICEF’s guide includes ideas for one-on-one activities for toddlers, young children, and teenagers.
#5. Focus on positive reinforcement
Try to give clear and positive instructions when you ask your child to do something. Speak calmly and use your child’s name to get their attention. Finally, reassure them by giving them praise for doing something well.
#6. Manage bad behaviour
According to UNICEF, one-on-one time, positive praise, and consistent routines will generally reduce bad behaviour. However, it’s completely normal for children to get restless and misbehave as they are still learning. In such cases, use realistic consequences to teach your kids about responsibility for their actions.
How can employers support working parents?
In addition to these parenting tips, UNICEF published timely recommendations for employers so that they can provide fair support to working professionals and their families:
“By giving working parents the time and support they need to care for their children, workplace family-friendly policies – like paid parental leave, paid sick leave, flexible work arrangements and access to affordable, quality childcare – help reduce the burden on children.”
Recommended actions include enabling flexible work practices such as teleworking, providing guidance for medical support, and reducing potential financial instability.
Many MBA and EMBA prospects are currently in managerial roles, so they can actively apply these recommendations in their companies to support their teams and also make it possible to accommodate the needs of their own families and children. In addition, this will be a notable experience to share during their MBA studies or during the application for admission, illustrating responsible leadership.