Life at Fluent

Tips and Tricks for Working from Home with Kids During COVID-19

From where we work to how we raise our children, the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted daily life in challenging and often unexpected ways. With schools and commercial office buildings across the country closed until further notice, the tenuous boundary between work and home life has become increasingly thin for many working adults.

We understand the strain this pandemic has placed on all our employees and are taking special care to support our Fluent and AdParlor parents and families as they navigate this new reality. Beyond virtual Trivia Nights, Bingo, Pictionary, yoga and daily guided meditation sessions, our People Team is offering special programming designed to help parents and their children stay active and engaged throughout the workweek.  

Since transitioning to work from home, we have partnered with Dryft, a San Francisco-based mobile fitness studio, to host a weekly group fitness class via Zoom. All Dryft sessions are family-friendly and tailored to the ages and abilities of the participants. We have also launched a virtual “Story Time” series featuring staff or members of their families as they read a book to the children, fellow parents, and any other employees interested in tuning in for a good story.

Story Time

In these small ways, we are hoping to bring some healthy energy into the home office, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.  

Patrick Sweeney Headshot

“The leadership team has also added a company-wide Rest & Recharge day on 4/24 to give our people another day to unplug and spend time with their families, roommates, and pets.  The goal is to pause all emails, video conference meetings, etc. and be present.  We want our team to stay healthy through this time so we can come back even stronger when we return to our ‘new normal’.”

– Patrick Sweeney, Head of People

Stories from the Frontlines: Advice from Fluent and AdParlor Parents

The ability to share our experiences is what helps us to connect and find common ground when nearly all else feels foreign or uncertain. We’ve started a #fluentparents slack channel as a place for employees to share anecdotes and advice as they adjust to working from home during COVID-19. Whether you’ve already mastered the perfect work from home routine or are still looking for ways to make life a bit easier during this time, check out some helpful tips and stories from our Fluent and AdParlor parents below.

Lauren Cody Headshot

Stories & Tips From:

Lauren Cody, SVP, Business Operations, AdParlor

The theme of my feedback is SCHEDULES! Schedules are EVERYTHING. They not only help us parents plan our own work schedules, but it is also scientifically proven that kids thrive on schedules.

Make a schedule

Take the time to sit down and think through a schedule that works for you and your family.

There are a lot of examples online but you have to create something that works for your family so you’ll stick to it. Remember, although our kids are physically at school for 7-8 hours a day, they’re not sitting doing lessons the entire time. Fit in things like chores, free time, playtime, exercise, etc. so that the kids stay engaged and excited.

Display the schedule in a place where everyone can see it.

My girls are always excited to know “what’s next” and this allows them to mentally plan for the day or look forward to things like free time and lunch.

Make the schedule familiar by empowering the kids to have a say in it.

For example, my first grader was having a hard time with the fact that I originally scheduled their Religion studies in the afternoon because “Religion is right before lunch” according to her (duh, Mom!). Switching things around so that it felt more familiar to their own school day helped a lot. We start each morning with their school prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance as well!

Mimic your home routines of the regular school year.

Keep bedtimes and morning routines. We are not getting fully dressed each day, but we are changing out of PJs, making beds, brushing hair and teeth and eating a healthy breakfast with no morning TV – just like we would if the girls were headed off to their classrooms.

Preach progress over perfection.

We are not going to follow the schedule perfectly every day. It’s a really helpful guide and helps keep us stay as sane as possible, but giving ourselves the flexibility to call an audible to make room for something new will be key to overall happiness and sanity!

Alyson Salva Headshot

Stories & Tips From:

Alyson Salva, Senior Account Director, AdParlor

Create a designated workspace.

Adhering to a normal school schedule as much as possible helps to maintain a sense of structure. As much as we’d all love to lounge in our jammies all day, it helps to get up and get changed into regular clothes before starting work-from-home/home-school for the day.

Regular school started at 9 am, so the kids start virtual lesson plans at 9 am. We also set up a home-school station away from the television and other electronic distractions. We are currently using our dining room table as a “desk” for the kids.

Get outdoors and stay active.

Before we start our home-school day, we get up and go for an outdoor run/bike ride as a family (dog, too!). This helps release some energy and get the sillies out before we settle into their virtual lesson plans.

Matt Conlin Headshot

Stories & Tips From:

Matt Conlin, President, Fluent

Outdoor adventures

Embrace change and flexibility.

As a father to young kids, I’ve been waking up earlier and moving meetings around to allow time for helping with meals and baths. We are encouraging everyone on our team to be flexible and supportive during this time of uncertainty – it takes a village!

Own the weekend.

Finding harmony between and work and family time is critical. The past couple weeks have been especially hectic, so when it came time for the weekend, I made it a point to take the kids on adventures and create activities that gave my wife a break and allowed me to connect with my children.

Allison Fee Headshot

Stories & Tips From:

Allison Fee, Director of Programmatic Data Sales, Fluent

Find creative ways to make schoolwork fun.

We are incorporating some of the study guides that have been provided by the school. My six-year-old twins are writing in journals, reading books, and coloring. We also are doing fun activities like making cookies to tie in math concepts.

Put restless energy to good use.

Since the kids are home and the house is more chaotic, when my boys start to fight and argue too much, we make them fold laundry, vacuum, dust, or clean their room. If they annoy me enough, I make them write ten things they love about each other and put on classical music. These aren’t overly popular with the kids; however, it makes them focus and be productive and gives me time to do my own thing.

Brandon Morrell Headshot

Stories & Tips From:

Brandon Morrell, Account Director, Fluent

Rewards for the kids

Practice discipline and reward good behavior.

We’re doing our best to keep the kids in a structured routine here. There are several times throughout the day when the kids call out to Mom and Dad and ask, “What’s next on the schedule?” The stickers earn them $0.20 they can put towards buying a new toy. 

The big x’s are Mom and Dad (the bank) taking stickers back from them for unruliness. We might run out of snacks too because they literally want a new one before they’re even done with the current one!

Miki DeHaven Headshot

Stories & Tips From:

Miki DeHaven, Account Manager, Client Success, AdParlor

Be patient with yourself.

It is incredibly difficult to juggle both being a stellar, productive employee and being a stellar, engaged parent. Each is likely to take a hit, so be gentle on yourself. It can be disheartening and hard on your self-esteem, especially if your spouse works in an essential service and you are home being a temporary single parent.

Don’t feel so guilty about screen time or cookies before lunch or putting them down for a nap early. You have work to do. Maybe also try not to eat your week’s ration of food in two days.

Andrea Bocchio Headshot

Stories & Tips From:

Andrea Bocchio, Chief of Staff to the President, Fluent


Dogs need extra attention too!

While working from home, I find this furry face staring at me multiple times throughout the day, asking for attention. Our pets get bored during quarantine too and they certainly do not care for all the Zoom meetings! Five minutes of playtime or a walk around the block with your pup between meetings can go a long way to help you feel recharged and to keep them entertained. Just remember to stay six feet away from others while you are out!

Additional Resources

If you’re looking for more ways to keep your kids happy and entertained during this time, check out these resources: