Over the last 1.5 years, most of us who had this opportunity, have switched to remote work. And although it was not easy for everyone at first, it required a special commitment from parents who stayed at home with their children. Today we slowly return to the offices, but it often happens that we have to stay at home with our children, combining work with taking care of them.
Our Espeo team consists of many skilful and committed dads who shared their experiences from the remote working period with us.
Paweł Martenka, Marcin Latos, Bartek Telesiński and Grzegorz Wojciechowski are our Developers who, during total remote work, have developed wonderful ways to help not only kill boredom but also effectively engage kids in creative tasks.
From this article you will learn:
- If it is possible to work with a newborn at home
- How a child can work with you
- Whether the new technologies are healthy for your child
- The sources of knowledge that Espeo dads use
Working from home with newborns: support and flexible working hours
“When a child is under 3 years old, the task is difficult but not impossible,” says Marcin. According to him, the easiest way is to fit work into the newborn’s naps. Then you can put the baby in a rocking chair and, swinging the leg, work on the computer. Additionally, Marcin recommends:
- educational mats as they can keep kids busy for about half an hour,
- baby wraps that can be worn from 2 months of age. The difficulty of tying the wrap might be a disadvantage, but everything is a matter of skill or help from the other person. A baby put into such a wrap calms down quickly and often falls asleep. If the tying of the scarf causes too many issues, from the 6th month of life, you can use special slings that perform the same function.
Sometimes it might become impossible to deal with newborns alone. In such cases, the support of your partner or relatives – grandmother, aunt, etc. will be invaluable. When both parents are working, it is worth taking advantage of the flexible working hours offered by many companies. Then you can swap with your partner and take turns looking after the child, advises Bartosz.
In this case, you can use 2 tips from Paweł:
- set aside spaces for work and for isolation;
- develop rules and sign language messages in the event of online meetings 😉
Let your kid “work” with you
A great idea from Grzegorz, it’s a “work” game. While you are working, give your child tasks to do so that he or she also feels like they are working too! Thanks to this you will spend time together (each one on their tasks) and you will build a sense of “adulthood” in your child as well as understanding of the importance of your duties – after all, he or she also “works” just like their parent.
As Grzegorz says: “My daughter Hania often sits next to my desk, draws patterns and colors. She always says that she then works with her dad. She is happy and for me it is a great help. Every now and then I ask if we need to talk through something or make some call with the client in the form of a joke. This additionally builds a cool atmosphere, her willingness to “have fun” and to actually take care of her own things. Sometimes I give her an old keyboard and a mouse. Then she clicks and pretends to work.”
What about older kids?
With older children, an interesting solution may be to arrange daily duties with them, such as emptying the dishwasher, hanging up the laundry, dusting, etc. This will allow them to take time and teach them useful things. If you make it fun, it will also become interesting for them.
“It is important to know what our children are interested in. As an example, my daughter loves to draw, so I often give her a piece of paper and crayons and ask her to paint something. Since my son loves Lego (only Duplo bricks are suitable up to the age of 3) – I tell him to build a garage for cars etc.” says Marcin.
The children love spending time with their parents, it is only important to recognize their interests and develop them using appropriate toys.
Be careful with the technology and use it reasonably
While working at a software house, our developers have daily contact with computers and smartphones. However, they are also aware that what is common to us, can harm the children and their development. That is why it is worth remembering Marcin’s advice to avoid giving your children phones, tablets or consoles, to which they become addicted very quickly. However, if we would like to use them anyway, Marcin offers scientific applications and games that teach children through playing. He even subscribed to “Lingo Kids”, an English learning app for a while, which kept screen time short and well spent. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that too much time spent looking at the screen or the phone will have a detrimental effect on your child’s health and your relationship, so it is important to limit it.
Home office with kids: what about after work time?
It is important to compensate the child for the time he or she spent alone or in kindergarten without a parent. Of course, everyone deserves a rest, so Marcin recommends suitable rest after work and spending time outdoors. As he says, after resting, he takes the children to the playground, to the forest or for a walk. He knows from experience that closeness to nature works best. His children’s favorite place is the forester’s lodge by the river in Poznań. They mostly cycle there, which is an additional attraction.
The earliest years of a child’s life are the most crucial for their development. Let’s take advantage of them and enjoy the time spent together. It is worth involving children in our passions and interests. Do you like cycling, board games or painting? Invite your children to your world! They will be happy to spend time with you and have memories for years.
Final recommendation from Marcin: “Just as we develop our programming knowledge and learn new technologies, we should train ourselves in other areas of our lives – being a parent can also be developed. Therefore, for all dads, I recommend the website www.tato.net and books dedicated to this subject.”
We fully agree with Marcin and we hope that the knowledge contained in this article will help you and your children spend time together effectively during home office days.