The juggle of work and home life has taken a different form for those of us who are practicing social distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For working parents of school-age children, this means finding ways to keep children safely occupied while performing their job responsibilities, as they work from home (WFH).
Here are six key tips:
1. Expect Changes in Your Work Schedule
By now, you may have noticed that your typical workday schedule is no longer typical. Younger children will require more hands-on help in getting their day started, while teenagers can be more independent and may even be helpful in managing household tasks while you work. The blending of family and working from home is an opportunity to teach responsibility, even in small doses, so you can tend to the work assignments on your plate.
2. Help Your Kids Establish a New Routine
To differentiate work and playtime, help kids set their own routine. If they’re working on school assignments, having them sit down at the same time each day can help provide structure during this uncertain time. Let them know that you’ll be available for help and set aside specific times for fun activities you can do together.
3. Double-Check Home Safety Measures
If your younger children will be out of your sight at home while you’re working, make sure you’ve taken steps to childproof your home to prevent accidents. After cleaning your home, be sure to store cleaning supplies out of reach of young children. If you have a home security system, set up a notification to alert you when a door or window is opened.
You’ll also want to take care of yourself by making sure your home office is comfortable and organized in a way that helps limit potential problems, such as overuse injuries.
4. Reset Your Expectations
Working from home with kids may impact your ability to focus, particularly in uncertain scenarios like the COVID-19 pandemic. Give yourself permission to adapt your work style, realizing that it may take you twice as long to compile a report or finish a project. Working from home means family needs are perhaps just a room away. Strive for balance by arranging your days to fit in all the important tasks you must attend to for both your family and your job.
If you can take a break on a beautiful day, get out in the yard with your kids. You’ll appreciate the moments of escape spent with your family.
5. Stock Up on Fun and Games
While you’re searching online for paper goods or hand sanitizer, add a few art kits or video games to your shopping cart. Now may even be the time to purchase that new gaming system you planned to buy as a special gift. Set parameters around screen time, but realize there may be instances where a little extra play is okay if your kids are having fun and you’re on the verge of completing a task for work.
You may also want to stock up on craft supplies that can come in handy when you need a quick, easy distraction for your kids in order to give you the time you need to meet an impending work deadline.
6. Trust Your Parental Instincts
You know your kids better than anyone. If they’re struggling to adapt to this new situation, they may require more of your attention right now. This means you may need to find ways to shift around work responsibilities. If you have a partner who is also working from home, maybe you can agree to trade off child care duties to ensure that your family’s needs are being met.
Right now, your main priority could be just making it through the day and keeping your family healthy. But, it’s also important to work and provide for your family’s financial needs. Communicate with your co-workers and managers as you adjust your work-life balance.
Consider Whether Your Insurance Needs Have Changed
If you’re moving to a home-based business or using office equipment at home, you’ll need to understand how this fits into your homeowners policy. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your insurance agent.
When was the last time you considered the air quality in your home? It’s easy to forget about something invisible, but like many around-the-house tasks, clearing the air is well worth your effort.
In the interest of health, safety and keeping your home in good shape, here are a few steps you can take to help your family breathe a little easier.
1. Test for radon gas and install carbon monoxide detectors.
You can’t see, taste or smell radon and carbon monoxide, but these indoor gases can be dangerous to your health and safety if left undetected.
2. Run an air purifier to clear allergens and pollutants.
Improve your indoor air quality by filtering out pollen, dust, pet hair and other irritants. If anyone in your household becomes sick with COVID-19, running an air purifier in their quarantine room may provide some protection from floating virus particles. HEPA air purifiers can also help remove smoke particulates during wildfires.
3. Use a dehumidifier.
Is your home prone to dampness? Keep your humidity level under 50% to prevent mold growth. Run a dehumidifier (and clean it regularly) as well as the exhaust fan in your bathroom(s) after every shower.
4. Follow these daily best practices.
In addition to testing and equipment purchases, these simple habits can help maintain your indoor air quality:
Your dog just took down the neighbor’s fence while chasing a squirrel (and your neighbor isn’t happy). Will your homeowners insurance cover the damage? The short answer is, “it depends.”
Policy coverage and exclusions can vary, and when important factors like pets are involved, the fine print matters.
Want to know more? Here are a few common questions about pets and home insurance.
Does your policy cover damage caused by pets?
Many home insurance policies do not cover damage your pets cause to your own property — like a torn sofa or broken TV. However, liability insurance may cover damage your pet does to other people’s property.
What if your dog bites someone on your property?
Most home liability policies offer coverage for damage a person may suffer on your property, including dog bites (up to a certain limit and provided you’ve disclosed you have a dog). Note that after the first dog bite, you may face additional exclusions.
Are different breeds treated differently?
Some insurance policies may offer limitations on coverage if you have what is considered a high-risk breed. When you share what kind of pet you have we can let you know what to expect.
Are backyard animals covered?
Home insurance policies don’t provide coverage for damage your pets, including backyard animals like goats or chickens, cause to your property. However, liability coverage may still apply (with some limitations).
Will your home insurance pay your pet’s medical bills?
Unfortunately, you’re likely on your own for your pet’s medical bills even if they are hurt during a covered incident (like breaking through your neighbor’s fence).
Have questions about your coverage? Reach out anytime.
6 Helpful Home Features to Look Forward To
If you could redesign your home today, what would it look like?
Experiencing a pandemic has changed how many of us think about our living spaces. What used to make sense may now seem impractical, and lots of homeowners are wishing for different features and layouts altogether.
How will home design change in the future? Here are a few comfort-focused innovations we might start to see.
Cleanliness and Safety
Looking to the future, you can likely expect to see more voice- and motion-activated technology and stronger barriers between the outside and inside world.
Have you felt overwhelmed by clutter lately? Future homes will likely adapt to a more streamlined and storage-friendly mindset.
Need some peace and quiet? Want to accommodate multiple roommates or your multigenerational family with ease? Designers and architects can help.
Do you have questions about your home insurance coverage? Need help with anything? Reach out today.
A Look At A Few Popular Decorating Styles Popular decorating styles are always changing. Is your home up to date on the latest fashion trends and decorating tips?
Popular decorating styles are fun, interesting and they just add something to talk about to the rest of the home. If you are considering a redo of your living room, your kitchen, your bedroom or virtually any other room in or outside of your home, consider some of today’s more popular choices. You are sure to find one, or two, that you really love to use.
Traditional: We have to start with the traditional look because it just does not go out of style. Here, the look is furniture that comes from the Kings and Queens of yesteryear, early American trends and a wide range of other formal styled items. You are looking for traditional to come through in the upholstery, in the window treatments and even in the accents that are placed around the room. Traditional is a style that is highly expensive to pull off with exceptional quality furnishings.
Shabby Elegance: Who’s to say that this is not one of the best methods of decorating. The look is that of chic, something that features light toned wall and furniture colorings, old china pattern looks, warm yet comfortable pieces that create a sense of relaxation when you look at them.
Contemporary: Modern contemporary looks have always been in style in the last decade. These looks are influenced by pieces that are bold and bright, different and unique and are functional yet are also more of a piece of art as well. You will find straight, clean lines in the furnishings and walls here.
Art Deco: This popular decorating style is one that seems quite a bit like the modern contemporary yet it has a more flowing look to it. The lines are not as straight, but rather are curved.
Rustic: The look for the log cabin is not gone. In a rustic Southwestern feel, you will have woods used of various types. It will have a laid back feel with warm throws and soft, comfortable furniture. The color scheme here is that of warm, rich colors that complement the woods.
French Country: This is a very popular choice in decorating styles. Here, you will have many bright colors and will have that feel of whimsical dreaming. Wood finishes are done with fruitwoods and cherry. Art work with color is on the walls.
One of these popular decorating styles will work perfectly in your home. There are plenty to select from to help you to transform the look for your home into something that is amazing.
The custom of appropriate and harmonious treatment of home decorating, interior decorations and suitable furniture, seems to have been in a great measure abandoned during the present century, owing perhaps to the indifference of architects of the time to this subsidiary but necessary portion of their work, or perhaps to a desire for economy, which preferred the cheapness of painted and artificially grained pine-wood, with decorative effects produced by wall papers, to the more solid but expensive though less showy wood-panelling, architectural mouldings, well-made panelled doors and chimney pieces, which one finds, down to quite the end of the last century, even in houses of moderate rentals. Furniture therefore became independent and "beginning to account herself an Art, transgressed her limits"... and "grew to the conceit that it could stand by itself, and, as well as its betters, went a way of its own."
Interior Conservatory Finishing
The interiors, handed over from the builder, as it were, in blank, are filled up from the upholsterer's store, the curiosity shop, and the auction room, while a large contribution from the conservatory or the nearest florist gives the finishing touch to a mixture, which characterizes the present taste for furnishing a boudoir or a drawing room.
There is, of course, in very many cases an individuality gained by the "omnium gatherum" of such a mode of furnishing. The cabinet which reminds its owner of a tour in Italy, the quaint stool from Tangier, and the embroidered piano cover from Spain, are to those who travel, pleasant souvenirs; as are also the presents from friends (when they have taste and judgment), the screens and flower-stands, and the photographs, which are reminiscences of the forms and faces separated from us by distance or death. The test of the whole question of such an arrangement of furniture in our living rooms, is the amount of judgment and discretion displayed. Two favorable examples of the present fashion, representing the interior of the Saloon and Drawing Room at Sandringham House, are here reproduced.
How The Gather Inheritance Influenced On The Home Decorations
There is at the present time an ambition on the part of many well-to-do persons to imitate the effect produced in houses of old families where, for generations, valuable and memorable articles of decorative furniture have been accumulated, just as pictures, plate and china have been preserved; and failing the inheritance of such household gods, it is the practice to acquire, or as the modern term goes, "to collect," old furniture of different styles and periods, until the room becomes incongruous and overcrowded, an evidence of the wealth, rather than of the taste, of the owner. As it frequently happens that such collections are made very hastily, and in the brief intervals of a busy commercial or political life, the selections are not the best or most suitable; and where so much is required in a short space of time, it becomes impossible to devote a sufficient sum of money to procure a really valuable specimen of the kind desired; in its place an effective and low priced reproduction of an old pattern (with all the faults inseparable from such conditions) is added to the conglomeration of articles requiring attention, and taking up space.
The limited accommodation of houses built on ground which is too valuable to allow spacious halls and large apartments, makes this want of discretion and judgment the more objectionable. There can be no doubt that want of care and restraint in the selection of furniture, by the purchasing public, affects its character, both as to design and workmanship.
One of the biggest home decorating dilemmas is how to arrange your accessories, whether it be a bookcase, shelf, or tabletop. Here is a three step system that will transform your boring or cluttered spaces into charming vignettes!
Harmony and Contrast
When arranging a space with accessories, one has to keep in mind that the most important thing to avoid here is boredom! This has a lot less to do with the objects you choose than how you choose to display them. To keep an arrangement from putting the neighbors down for their afternoon nap, remember to keep a balance of harmony (things that feel like they go together, like similar colors or styles) and contrast (things that spice things up by being different…smooth against texture, round against straight line, et…) You want a bit of both in your arrangement. Perhaps you could create harmony by repeating a square shape or the color purple, and then add contrast by sitting a smooth candlestick next to a rough basket.
Scale and Shape
Make sure that the items you are using fit into their new homes scale…you don’t want one tiny paperweight on a large kitchen table, and you want to steer clear of using a huge ceiling high arrangement of flowers on a tiny end table. Most people tend to use things that are too small for their surroundings however. If you have small accessories you would like to display, but need to give them more oomph in the arrangement, try grouping them on a plate or a fabric covered box. You can also give them height by perching them atop stacked books or baskets.
Layer and Soften
Once you’ve chosen your objects for the space following the design principles above, now it’s time to layer and soften. Start with a larger, taller piece slightly off center…this will be the defining piece in your arrangement. Now work to the outer edges in layers…Add a taller background layer, a middle sized medium height layer, and your tiniest objects in the front. Keep the eye moving up and down as it purveys the arrangement from left to right for interest. Add some fabric or twisted ribbon to soften the edges of the shelf or table, to bring in color, and to highlight certain objects.
Above all, keep trying new combinations of items until you find an arrangement that works for you. Use things in unusual ways. Tuck flowers or a live plant into an arrangement that seems too static. Even professional designers will occasionally be surprised by trying things in a new way! And remember, if your arrangement still looks cluttered and lost, chances are you are trying to display too much. Develop a prop box or closet where you can keep some of your treasures, and switch them our a couple of times a year for a fresh new look without spending a dime! For an example photo of accessory arrangement, visit this page on our website at http://www.thebudgetdecorator.com/arrange_accessory.html