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How do you manage parenting and working at home? On March 26, we held our second Quartz at Work (from home) workshop: “The Lives of Working Parents Now,” featuring:

  • Helpful advice on how to handle everything simultaneously;
  • a psychologist’s insight into the stress responses of children;
  • expert takes on the promise and limitations of online learning;
  • and lessons from a school in Italy that has been closed now for five weeks.

Quartz members can watch the entire event by clicking on the replay above.

Here is a full list of the presenters and our key takeaways:


  • Megan Gunnar, head of the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota
  • Dawna Ballard, chronemics scholar and assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Brenna Loury, head of marketing at Doist
  • Jim Knight, chief education and chief external officer at Tes Global and former UK schools minister
  • Iain Sachdev, principal at the International School of Monza, Italy
  • Jenny Anderson, senior reporter at Quartz

Key takeaways:

We’ve all become teachers and therapists. Let go of what you can’t control and reset your expectations. Bring your children into planning your day as much as possible, so they can feel ownership (even if it’s a little thing like helping to decide what’s for lunch).

Nothing works for everyone. Every child, parent, and situation is different, so expect to try various approaches until you find what works best for everyone.

Remain calm and confident in front of your children; you’re all in it together. Cut down on your children’s exposure to the media—and your own. Shift the narrative your kids might be receiving about staying home due to coronavirus to “We are sequestering ourselves to help others.”

Find the right blend of tech and human learning to teach children at home. Different ages will require different variations of tech and human learning (i.e. younger children will require more human attention, while older children can do self-directed learning.)

Take this time to focus on emotional learning, rather than cognitive. Teaching will be more of a struggle if you’re focused on test scores. Use this time to focus on the other parts of the school curriculum like the arts, music, and physical education.

Teachers do not need to be online lecturing all day long. They, too, need time to juggle things at home.

Despite feeling hurried right now, we actually need to slow down. Don’t multitask. Instead, focus on your relationships and the specific tasks those relationships require. It’s not possible to go much faster than you are right now. Avoid over-scheduling and focus on effectiveness in the long term.

Adapt your regular productivity methods. Use a white noise app to minimize distractions. Hide your cell phone while working and focus on one thing at a time. Break up your tasks into “what must be done” and “would be nice to have done.” Be honest with your coworkers about your time and decline meetings that you don’t need to attend. Take walking meetings outside when possible.