In these unprecedented times, families are facing new challenges and many are juggling the responsibilities of childcare with the working week – all in the isolation of their own homes.

Working from home mother

Source: Shutterstock/ FamVeld

A few weeks ago, I gave birth to my fourth child. A few days later, my children’s school and nursery both shut for lockdown, leaving me to work out a new normal.

While many of us have already settled into work-sharing patterns with our partners, many are unable to do that. For key workers, single parents and carers of sick or elderly family members, it is an added pressure in an already anxious and stressful time.

CBRE’s family network offers valuable resources and support and has compiled tips on how to juggle the responsibilities of work and family to help parents navigate the new normal.

Be flexible. Many parents are working flexible hours to better accommodate their children’s timetable, and in some cases are working in shift patterns with their partners.

Embrace routine but stay creative. Routines can be productive and are often necessary when we have a lot to juggle in one day. Downtime, screen time, family time or even ‘you’ time are also necessary and will not always conform to a routine.

Many families have children of different ages. In our house, we have tried picking themes to tie learning and activities together. For us, it often revolves around sport – picking their favourite player, learning where they are from and reading an interesting fact. My husband creates circuits for our children so they can run off excess steam at lunchtime.

It must also be emphasised that mental health and wellbeing are of the utmost importance and it is a confusing and anxious time for children as well. Enjoying time together as a family, not being too hard on yourself and making sure you continue to speak to your managers and support networks are all vital.

It is a challenging time for everyone and so do not be afraid to reach out if you are struggling and seek the support you need. Talking and being open is vitally important as it is more than likely that others will be in a similar position.

Claire Taylor is director, valuations and chair of the family network at CBRE