The Coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted how many of us lead our day-to-day lives. The implementation of social distancing measures and wide-scale stay-at-home mandates mean that, more than ever, conference calling providers like Vast Conference have become indispensable tools for people who are working remotely from home as a preventative measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
These shutdowns and safety measures enacted at state and federal levels have also caused a shift in how students attend classes and complete coursework. Many schools and universities have limited and restricted in-person attendance and instead have offered online video lectures as part of their curricula.
Since many children are also taking classes through online portals, this can make working and learning from home more challenging for parents of young children, especially when it comes to taking conference calls and attending interactive video presentations. Not only can children be distracting to the parent, but kids also tend to be noisy, which can be disruptive to productivity during conference calls and video chat sessions – for everyone participating.
In this article, we are going to discuss a few ways for parents of young children to ensure that their conference calls and video meetings are as productive as possible.
This is probably the most important tip in preparing for an upcoming conference call for parents working at home with small children. Take steps to prepare for the call ahead of time.
Small children are generally well-adjusted to a daily routine and hate when that routine is interrupted. Begin by explaining to your children that you have an important meeting. Children are inquisitive and may ask questions about the meeting. Take the time to explain and answer any questions they may ask about it. Also, explain that you need them to be on their best behavior while you are on your call.
Planning ahead also means that you need to organize any important documents, notes, bookmarks, or web pages that you know you will need to access during the call. Good organizational skill is a productivity best practice for anyone working from home.
It’s also important to prepare mentally and physically for a conference call. More than anything, this means maintaining your calm. Children can sense when the parent is stressed, and they will react to it.
Here are some steps you can take prior to the conference call in order to maintain a calm mindset during the meeting:
- Wim Hof breathing or another similar breathing exercise.
- Guided meditation for calm and focus.
- Exercise such as yoga or stretching.
- Light reading.
Taking a moment to find a calm center of focus not only helps in preparing for the conference call but also when it comes to dealing with your kids. If your toddler runs in during the call wanting affection, don’t stress over it. Hold them in your arms or lap if necessary. We all need to realize that for anyone working from home with children, it means the house is going to be a bit messy (and a bit noisy), but it’s going to be alright.
Activities to Occupy Children During Conference Calls
The best way to keep children occupied during important conference calls is to give them something to do. Children love to engage in activities, and the right ones can keep a child entertained for hours.
Here are some ideas for activities to keep your child entertained and occupied during your important conference call:
- Non-toxic modeling clay for kids.
- Watercolor paints or even wet paintbrushes and construction paper.
- Put your child’s favorite television show or movie on a TV or streaming device for them to watch.
- Build a pillow or blanket fort and put their favorite toys in it.
- Special toys that are only to be played with during calls and kept up during times when parents are not indisposed by calls.
Implement Reward Systems for Good Behavior
Another good idea for keeping your kids happily distracted is to implement a reward system for good behavior. If you tell your child they will get a special reward for good behavior while you are on your call, it will turn quiet time into a game, and children love games after all.
Here are some ideas for rewards to help keep children quiet and well-behaved during conference calls:
- Tell the child that they can have their favorite sweet treat after your call, as long as they behave themselves while you are on it.
- Promise to do a read-aloud of their favorite storybook after your call
- Tell them that you will play their favorite game or do their favorite activity with them when you are done.
- Let the child choose what’s for dinner that evening. If they’ve been good, they deserve a reward.
Many people are working with children in their homes now, so they’re apt to be a bit more understanding and cut each other some slack. Many people are in the same boat or will be in the near future. It’s just part of the “new normal”.
If you need to step away for a minute to attend to a child’s needs, it’s better to excuse yourself for a moment and handle your parental responsibilities. If any call participants are offended or upset by this, it may be best to reschedule the call for a later time.