How to Work from Home when the Kids are off School

working from home with kids

Or: TV that you can legitimately put your children in front of so you can hop on that zoom call without feeling guilty.

I’m writing this post in January 2021. Remember this time last year?

If someone had told you you were going to spend months home schooling your children while also working from home yourself, you’d probably have laughed in their face.

Before skipping away from the school gate, fancy coffee in hand, for several glorious hours in an office where nobody ever demanded you help them blow their nose or get them a snack for the 54th time since breakfast.

I mean, I’m assuming, I don’t know what your boss is like.

Fast forward to now and not only do us parents have our children’s entire education to worry about, we also have to remember login details to 73 different apps for all their online learning, referee arguments over who uses the iPad first, ensure that everyone gets their daily exercise despite the fact that the temperature hasn’t risen above freezing in days, and the snacking. Oh the endless, endless snacking.

Oh and we have to do all that while holding down a job and doing zoom calls with our bosses with the laptop positioned precisely so that the one miniscule tidy bit of the house is showing.

Sometimes, let’s be honest, all you can do is put them in front of the TV and hope for the best.

Here’s my list of home working friendly TV your kids can watch – no parent-guilt required

Here’s my list of home working friendly TV your kids can watch – no parent-guilt required

  • Joe Wicks PE Class – The tousle haired darling of the nation is back. Starting Monday 11th January he’ll be live at 9am, three days a week. If you can’t wait until then, check out his sessions from lock down 1, they’re all on YouTube. You can use this hour to catch up on work, or join in with the kids as they leap around the living room. Or hide in the kitchen eating leftover breakfast cereal from their bowls. There’s no judgment here.
  • CBBC for primary age kids and BBC 2 for secondary students – The Beeb is putting on 3 whole hours of educational programming every weekday morning from 9am. There’ll be shows like BBC Bitesize Daily, Art Ninja and Horrible Histories so if they’re knackered from Joe Wicks they can relax with the Terrible Tudors instead.
  • David Attenborough – Needs no introduction. A national treasure and 100% educational. Available on iPlayer.
  • Octonauts – For slightly younger kids. A group of out of scale animals, including a polar bear that’s the same size as the penguin, sail the oceans saving sea creatures. The animation is a bit weird (or am I just old?) but honestly, I learned more about marine biology in the 3 months of my daughter’s Octonauts phase than in the entire rest of my life. Ever heard of the cookie-cutter shark, or the yeti crab? No? Then go and educate yourself! And the kids. Let them watch too.
  • My Octopus Teacher – Sticking with the ocean theme, this is a Netflix documentary featuring a man who makes friends with an octopus. He visits her every day for a year and she teaches him about resilience, joy and about life itself. Heartwarming through and through, and you learn lots of cool things about octopuses, like how they can regrow limbs. Useful if your older kids reacted with disgust when you suggested they watch Octonauts.
  • Blue Peter – Live on CBBC every Thursday at 5pm, and also available on iPlayer. Another national treasure, really. If you grew up in the UK, you’ll probably remember watching Blue Peter. It’s still fun and educational, and they now have a beagle-basset hound cross called Henry as their BP dog. It was Meg when I was a whippersnapper. The kids could also work on earning some badges as a non-TV related activity.
  • Newsround – If you’re anything like me you’ll have spent the last year turning the news off whenever your kids are around. Of course we want them to be well informed but when The World at One is enough to make hardened journalists want to weep, I don’t want my nine year old listening. Newsround is an age appropriate new bulletin, and there’s a website with extra info on topical issues. This article on US politics was very helpful. For, er, my child.
  • Explained – This Netflix series discusses a range of topics from diamonds to cults. The episodes are 20 minutes long, so are perfect to fill a little time while you quickly send some emails or eat chocolate in the bathroom so you don’t have to share. Again, I would never judge you.
  • Great British Bake Off – This inspires my daughter to take to the kitchen and try to replicate the bakes, which I am firmly in favour of because I can very rarely be bothered to bake nowadays (no lockdown banana bread in our house unless the nine year old makes it). GBBO is lighthearted and kind – the perfect antidote to anxiety about the world.

So there you have it, just a few of our favourites that I hope will help.

Remember: You’ve got this. You’re doing great.

Now, stick CBeebies on and head to the bathroom with those leftover Christmas chocs…

Have I missed any amazing shows that your kids love? Let me know, we’re all in this together!

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