The Art of Working from Home with Kids

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Every night at 7pm in Vancouver, my neighbors and I gather at our windows and balconies to cheer for our amazing health heroes working incredibly hard under these challenging circumstances. It made me think of all the other people worth cheering for: Grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, teachers, counselors — the list goes on.

My fellow Tasktopians also made me realize that other unsung heroes include those working from home with children. Not only do they have their day-to-day jobs and lives to contend with, they must also entertain their children 24/7, support their studies, keep them fit and healthy, and much more I’m sure. I’ve been blown away by the pool of creative ideas and resources they’re pulling together to help each other out during the pandemic.

At Tasktop, one of our core values is ‘Care for each other’s growth, happiness and productivity’. We, therefore, wanted to spread the love and care that Taskopians have been supporting each other with during these extraordinary times and help other parents and guardians across the industry. From virtual PE lessons and gardening to creating cleaning solutions to building Lego masterpieces, we’ve got you covered!

Here’s what they’ve been up to…

Value Stream Architect, Wendy Flowers, and her children, Gavin and Zack, are in the process of building the Chicago Cubs’ stadium Wrigley Field:

Wendy also took inspiration from Tasktop’s Principal Flow Advisor, Dominica DeGrandis, and built a Kanban board to make all of their school work visible. Wendy said, “The kanban board for school work has been a life-saver! My children have been getting all their school assignments at the beginning of the week, and it was very overwhelming. Now things are grouped by day and they have blocker indicators so we know when they need help.”

Providing some final words of wisdom, Wendy said, “Do what is best for your family! Look for tips and tricks from others but do what works for you. Make sure you set aside time for dinner and an evening activity. Some nights we watch a show or movie together, others we play games or read a book. Our oldest will be in high school next year and then off to college. We realized the next 4.5 years will go so fast and we are trying to enjoy the time now.”

Technical Account Manager, Paul Nakoski, and his granddaughter have been building Kiwico kits, adding, “They are really fun to build and my granddaughter has been playing and modifying them afterwards, to get different outcomes.”

VP of Marketing, Sarah Elkins, and her son, Calvin, have also been having a ton of fun building Kiwico kits.

Sarah and her two sons also took part in an online P.E. class by Joe Wicks, something that she said was good for the whole family to get involved in.

Tasktop’s Customer Success Engineer, Kavitha Bangera, and her daughter, Rhea, worked on a project by Mommy Labs, to create a Kitchen Science Lesson. Kavitha said, “Nothing beats cheap entertainment, especially with some fine motor skills practice and a built-in kitchen science lesson!”

Technical Account Manager, Ryan MacGillis, put together an easy activity for his son, Landon, adding that, “This was a simple and fun activity for our two-year-old son. Learning the alphabet and matching each foam letter with the letters traced on the page”.

Landon added, “My wife has been finding different activities on Pinterest. We’ve made dinosaurs out of paper plates and paper towel rolls, lots of painting, playing with kinetic sand, learning different sports outside, reading, memory/matches games.”

Associate Product Manager, Rebecca Dobbin, has been entertaining her 18month-year-old son, in various ways such as setting up a tent inside the house and going on nature walks. Sharing some additional advice, Rebecca added, “My words of wisdom are to realize that you aren’t just working from home — you are working during a pandemic. This isn’t normal! So cut yourself some slack, be present with your kids, and carve off time when you can be fully present in your work (if you can). When you try to do two things at once, you do both poorly, so find time when you can be truly present in one or the other. And focus on appreciating the extra family time — there’s a lot to be grateful for.”

Sr. Director, Americas Sales East, Laura Horner, set up a weekly learning experience on Zoom for all Tasktopian kids to participate in. To start, her son Colin led a learning experience about Yellowstone National Park. Next week her daughter, Anabelle, will be leading an active session on stretching.

Laura also added, “We’ve been having our kids research different musical artists and then also learning how to play the guitar online. We’ve also been trying to take advantage of different online learning experiences, such as online museum experiences, etc. Since the kids can’t see their grandparents we’ve been having them complete Sudoku or fun games (like filling in all the US States) virtually.”

Software Engineer, Sébastien Coquelin, has been providing his daughter with some key reading. She calls it “the magic book’:

Meanwhile, Senior Software Engineer, Terence Ho, has been working on some sewing projects with his daughter, Hayley:

Austin’s Office Manager, Rachel Overton, and her daughter, Chloe, have been living every adults dream, and built a fort:

Quality Assurance Engineer, Sumi Kim, and her children, made cleaning solutions for COVID-19. Sumi said, “I talked about a few chemicals that can kill the virus. And I showed them how to calculate proportion when making cleaning solutions. We also talked about which chemicals can be used on our body and which ones are not safe. My daughters – six and eight-years-old – enjoyed it. I am trying to encourage them to participate in house activities more, and they also read and do art every day.”

Finally, Senior Value Stream Architect, Tina Dankwart, has been making use of the nice weather in Cambridge and has been teaching her children to garden. “I’ve just spent a small fortune on gardening equipment and seeds. I intend to build a vegetable garden with the kids — something nice to get outside for, and it’s the perfect time of year! I don’t have a big garden, but I have a lot of experience growing vegetables and I think it’ll be a great thing for kids to do.”

Useful websites and resources

  • Khan Academy – Providing free, world-class lessons covering math, science, and more.
  • Cool math Games – A brain-training website, where logic and thinking meet fun and games.
  • TechShopz in a Box™ – Offering free workshop plans, documents and guides for middle school girls.
  • CODE.org – Provides free online STEM courses.
  • Future of Tech – A growing library of resources created by CompTIA to get you up to speed on what’s new & next.
  • Science Kids – Offers fun science experiments, online games, free activities, projects and more.
  • Glitch – A tool for creating web-apps, for people and teams of all skill levels.
  • ABCYA – Offering a ton of education games for kids of all ages.
  • Scholastic – Weekly learning plans full of activities for Grades PreK-K.
  • Have fun Teaching – Offering loads of free downloadable ‘relief packs’ for children of all ages.
  • Scratch – Online code-via-drag-and-drop for kids

What have you been doing with your children? Tweet us at @Tasktop to share your ideas and activities.


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