Working from home during the coronavirus outbreak?

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How to take care of yourself and your children?

How do you combine the care for your children and working from home during the Coronacrisis? A healthcare-psychologist from DiSofa, working from Madrid, is sharing her experience!

As adults, we could see it coming for a while: the coronavirus (COVID-19) that shuts down entire countries. For children the impact of the virus is more difficult to grasp, and won’t really affect them until changes are notable in their daily life. How do you take care of yourself and your children? A few tips to get through these challenging times!

The children


A relaxed start of the day and playing all day long: sounds wonderful for children! But combining this with being able to work can prove to be quite challenging! Especially because children will also have to complete their school work and keep up with the homework assignments set out by school. It helps to keep a clear structure, similar to what the kids are used to at school. So: breakfast, start school work, break with snack, etc. Make sure you add enough variety. The attention span of many (young) children is quite short. Many children also benefit from a visual image of the activities. This gives them an insight and structure in this confusing time.


Why not consider engaging your children in creative activities like baking, arts & crafts, play sports, build and explore! See what you can do with your children. These circumstances can also give an (extra) sense of togetherness: after all, you are all in it together. Why not make the best out of it!


“Mommy, I’m so bored, what can I do ??” It may help to provide a list of activities they enjoy and can choose from during free play moments. You can write these activities down or take pictures. This way they do not always have to come up with ideas themselves, but can just choose an activity of the list (eg puzzling, reading, cars, dolls, etc.). Very helpful!

Back to basic

Even though it currently is a confusing and stressful time for all of us, there is also an opportunity to go back to basics, and to focus on you family. Time to spend together and to connect with one another. Seeing the value and opportunity of this time together, can make the situation a bit more bearable.

What if you need to work from home?

  • Communicate who will be working, at what time and where. Include this information in the daily planner, so it is clear for the family to see. Consider setting a timer or clock, so the children have an idea of how long each work period lasts.
  • Where possible, create a quiet workplace where you can isolate yourself. This also makes it clear to the children when you are unavailable.
  • Hang a note on the door with, for example, the traffic light colors (red = do not disturb, orange = you can ask something briefly, green = feel free to come in).
  • When you are not working, try to be really present while interacting with your children. Let go of your work and be available for the children (turn off your computer and phone). Doing something active with the kids can help switch out of the work-mode

Talk to your kids about the corona virus

The virus can scare children, make them upset or angry. Every child will react differently to this current situation. Make yourself available and talk about the impact this has on your child.

  • There are various child-oriented videos and flyers available with good explanations, for all ages. Before sharing this information, check to see if you feel it’s appropriate for your child to see or read.
  • Consider when to talk to your child about the Coronavirus. Just before going to bed can sometimes be less appropriate. Try to always end the day on a positive note, before your child goes to sleep.
  • Perhaps this is also a time to consider whether existing rules should be enforced in the same way or whether they can sometimes be eased off a bit. This might help you handle your own frustration tolerance, but also that of the children.

Don’t forget the little ones?

With older children it is often easier to read their expressions and to get an idea how they are doing and what they are feeling. They will also be more capable of putting these feelings into words. With young children this isn’t always easy. They are however just as much affected by the change in structure. Try to give them a bit of extra attention and provide them with structure and variety.

How about teenagers?

As a teenager, being locked up with your parents and little brothers / sisters might prove to be challenging! Try to give them space to keep in touch with their school and friends. In most areas, social distancing is of importance, making them have less face to face time with their friends. This could be the time to be a bit more lenient in allowing /extending screen time limits, enabling them to stay in touch with friends.

Social media

Social media already proved to be a time-consuming activity, but in these times, it is easy to get lost in all the information coming at you. Imagine how you can lead by example and show your kids an appropriate amount of screen time. Also to give yourself a break for the Corona news!

Do you feel the current situation is getting to you? Are you feeling excessively anxious and are you insured with a Dutch health insurer? Please contact us at DiSofa!