4. Enlist help if possible
Your childcare options may be limited at this time, but maybe you have a partner at home who can help out or an older kid who can babysit your youngest for a few hours? And depending on the age of your child, you can also arrange virtual playdates to keep them occupied with grandparents, friends or even teachers. They can chat, read to each other, sing and dance—anything to give you a couple of minutes to catch up on emails.
5. Go outside every day (if you can)
Your kids will go nuts if they stay cooped up indoors all day—and so will you. Unless local authorities have said otherwise, try to go outside for some fresh air every day (making sure to keep a safe distance from other people, of course). This will help everyone blow off some steam as well as give the family a much-needed change of scenery. If your work schedule seems too packed to take a break, see if you can take a call on the go or bring your laptop out to the backyard.
6. Use screen time strategically
First of all, don’t beat yourself up if you give your kids a little more screen time than normal (or more than the Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of one hour per day from the age of 2). “The high-level takeaway in terms of kids and screen time is that everything should be watched in moderation,” says Lindsay Powers, author of You Can’t F*ck Up Your Kids: A Judgment-Free Guide to Stress-Free Parenting and founder of the viral No Shame Parenting movement. “You should also make sure the programming is age-appropriate, and you should do your best to interact with your kids while they’re viewing it,” she adds. Meaning that if you’re firing up the iPad on Monday so you can get a head start on the week, try your best to balance it out with less screen time on Tuesday (or over the weekend). And here’s a pro tip: Use screens at whatever point in the day you need your kid to be distracted the most (say, your 3 p.m. meeting with the CEO). Another way to feel better about giving your kid some extra screen time while you’re trying to work? Curate their playlist. Plenty of educational shows will entertain your son while teaching him something, too. (Sesame Street or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood happen to be two of our faves for the toddler set.)
7. Ditto for nap time
“I’m lucky in that most of the time my 2-year-old will take a daily two-and-a-half-hour nap,” says one mom, revealing that she uses that time to work on projects that require the most focus. But even if your kid decides to go on a nap strike, scheduling some quiet time every day (like playing with Playdoh and a bunch of molds next to you) can still give you the opportunity to concentrate on your work. (Maybe.)