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5 Ways to Boost Family Morale While Sheltering in Place

Rachel Sklar, MSW  | Published on 5/25/2020

I missed my cousin’s Zoom bat mitzvah. It was in my calendar for 7 pm, but I’m in California and she’s in Baltimore. When I added the face palm emoji to my apology text, it showed up as my top-used emoji. It’s exactly how I feel too. I’m constantly letting people down and then smacking myself in the forehead for it.

father and son

Needless to say, morale is low around here and being stuck inside until June with three boys doesn’t help. They’ve adopted a “no before yes” kind of attitude. Want to go for a bike ride? No. Want to help me make dinner? No. Want to organize your closet? No. Want to play with me? No. It has me wondering: How do companies boost morale? If my kids were employees and I was their CEO, how would I boost their spirits, increase productivity, and improve company culture? How can I change their attitudes so they have a deep sense of satisfaction and pride in our important mission to “Enjoy family life already.”

I googled it.

It seems that every article about how to boost low morale in companies starts by saying what causes it: Lack of transparency, unclear expectations and goals, boredom, leadership issues, and a lack of healthy challenges that could lead to individual and community growth. I plead guilty on every count.

Boosting family morale while sheltering in place means resolving some of these basic issues. Try these five steps:

  1. Communication

    Step up leadership and increase transparency with regular family meetings or one-on-ones to review what’s working, what’s not, and what can be changed. Use collaborative problem-solving to create plans that address “I’m bored”, “I’m hungry” and “I don’t want to,” which all kill morale when left to chance.

  2. Organization

    Now that the office, the house, and the school are on top of each other, you’ll need some ninja organization skills. Rethink your space to help kids be independent. Bring things down to their level and let them choose what goes where. Put away school supplies when they’re not “learning” and model a calm work-life-school balance to boost everyone’s spirits.

  3. Recognition

    When your child is being a pill, it seems counterintuitive to praise them, but what if their pilliness is coming from low self-confidence? To boost your child’s confidence, verbally recognize them for the good they bring to your family. Then watch morale skyrocket.

  4. Team Building

    Morale is higher when people feel connected. Look for fun ways to build trust and confidence in each other. The activities don’t need to be fancy. Play freeze dance, hopscotch, and charades. Bonus points if everyone goes home with a prize!

  5. Unplugging

    When employees and the leadership team take time to unplug, relax, and have a proper break, everyone wins. Families are no different.

Go easy on your team and yourself. As CEO of the Sklar Family, I’m trying to prioritize our relationships over our bottom line.