8. Family and home life
Many of us are going to be cooped up with family a lot more that we are used to.
- Agree on a household routine. Try to give everyone who you live with a say in this
- Try to respect each other’s’ privacy and give each other space. Some people will want company and noise, others will prefer quiet and time alone. Try and meet everyone’s needs but understand some compromise will be needed
- Make a plan of how you will spend your time. Include the other people in your household, no matter what their age, so everyone contributes. Write it on a piece of paper and put it up on the wall or fridge
Disagreements and negotiations are part of family life, but if conflicts are causing more serious upset, support is available.
The charity Relate has advice online, including how to reduce family arguments and a whole page of links relating advice and information during the coronavirus outbreak.
Domestic violence or abuse
During the period of staying at home, our domestic abuse service is able to support and advise by remote means.
If you, or someone you know, needs help due to being in an abusive situation with a partner or family member, our specialist support service will be able to provide advice, and support you with safety planning.
Abuse comes in many forms including economic, physical, sexual, threatening, controlling, coercive, emotional and psychological.
Devon Splitz Support Service can be contacted on 0345 1551074 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm) or by email to email@example.com or you can be supported through the national helpline at other times on 0808 2000 247.
Advice can be provided anonymously if preferred. If you need an urgent response dial 999 to contact the Police.
National guidance on this issue during the coronavirus outbreak can be found here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for victims of domestic abuse.
If you live alone, make sure you know who your support networks are and how to reach them. While you may normally feel confident and happy living alone, social isolation has very real consequences.
Schedule video calls with loved ones to keep in touch.
Set hobby, DIY or other personal goals to keep yourself motivated.
Keep checking in with a family member colleague or friend who lives near enough to bring you supplies if you fall ill or need to go into self-isolation.
The charity Mind runs an online peer support community called Elefriends, where you can share your experiences and hear from others.
If you think your mental health might be affected by seeing less of friends, take action and talk to someone about it to get support.
Use the support links in the directory if you need them.
Be a friend
Whether you are in a family or couple, live with others in a shared house, or live on your own, there will be times when being isolated from others outside the home gets to you. Likewise, there will be other people you can support.
If you think someone might be struggling for whatever reason, just get in touch. Most people will appreciate the effort and it could be the lifeline someone is waiting for.
People of all faiths and of none
Many of our faith organisations are finding ways to support people without attending the usual services and gatherings. Look on your faith organisation’s website to find out more.
Working from home with children
Working from home and combining this with childcare or home schooling is going to be different for every family. It is not something we would normally do, and we don’t have a model for how to make this work.
As parents or carers we will need to find creative solutions, and it may take a bit of trial and error before we get it right.
Children will require more or less attention depending on their age and temperament. Younger children, in general, often need more attention.
It may not be easy, so use the other tips in this guideand be kind to yourself.
Get the support you need
- If you have a partner at home and you are both working, share the load. Don’t leave it to one parent to manage. You could try splitting the day in half and doing half each. You might be able to include times when you can both get on with work while children have some downtime with the TV or iPad.
- If grandparents are used to being involved in your childcare, and want to help, see if you can make this work digitally. If lesson plans are available on your child’s school’s website perhaps they could work through some of the content with your child over Facetime or Skype.
- If you have more children this might mean you have more demands on your time – or if you are lucky they might look after each other. Every family will be different.
- Create WhatsApp groups with colleagues who are also parents or carers, or turn to your friends who are also working. Share tips or just let off some steam.
- School age children are used to routines at school so try to recreate this at home.
- Lots of schools will have provided timetables. Use these or adapt to fit your day.
- It may take a couple of weeks to get it right so keep being kind to yourself.
- If your children are old enough, explain to them that you are working and that you will play with/talk to them at lunchtime or when you have a break. Set them on with their schoolwork or give them household jobs to help you. Ask them to think of ways they could help or keep themselves occupied.
- If you are home schooling children make the most of opportunities to multitask. Sit together, set them on with something then get on with some work while they are absorbed.
- Don’t feel pressured to do a full school day. Let them play or watch TV.
Keeping it up
- Try to find a routine but at the same time take one day at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
- If you are finding it unmanageable, speak to your manager. Your manager should discuss the practicalities of your situation, including taking into account the age of your children and the level of childcare responsibility.