TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME WITH KIDS
Being a working parent is a balancing act at the best of times. Check out this post for some helpful tips for working from home with kids.
JUGGLING KIDS AND WORKING FROM HOME
Working from home can make life easier. There’s no commuting, you can stick a load of laundry on during your coffee break and there’s fewer distractions from co-workers so you’re likely to be much more focused and productive.
That is, as long as you’ve got your home set-up to help you work in the most effective way possible and you’re disciplined enough not to get side-tracked by what’s on TV.
Also, that is, as long as you don’t have little kids that need you ALL. THE. TIME!
The moment you throw kids into the mix of your working from home then your stress levels are likely to rise as quickly as your productivity levels drop!
Our kids, bless them, always need something – whether it’s a drink, a snack or us and our time.
If you’re trying to juggle working from home with looking after little ones, I feel your pain!
Here are some tips for working from home with kids that have really helped me get stuff done for work and still feel like I’m doing an ok job as a parent. See if they could they help you too!
20 TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME WITH KIDS
1. Keep up your own morning routine – It may be the only bit of me-time that I can find before the house wakes up (for reading, enjoying my tea whilst it’s hot etc). There’s a free download you can get at the bottom of this post to help you with that!
2. Plan a timetable for all of you – Schedule your day so that everyone knows what they should be doing and when. It will save on frustration and arguments if you all know what the score is. Be flexible though!
3. Keep to regular meal times – Use these as the framework for your day and build your schedule above around them.
4. Make good use of sleep and nap times – If you’ve got something important to do that requires focus with no interruptions, then plan to do this during your child’s nap time, rather than when they’ve just been fed and have bundles of energy.
5. Allow breaks for rest and play – Brain and body need to have space to recharge. Neither kids nor adults have indefinite concentration spans!
6. Keep a daily To Do list – When our normal daily routine is changed, it’s easy to let things slide. Keep a list of tasks, plans or things you need to do each day and cross things off as you go.
7. Keep stocks of snacks – To keep little ones occupied and you happy when you’ve got the munchies!
8. Mix and match the toys – Try a box of toys and books one day and swap it for some different toys the next. Rotating the toys like this will make it much more interesting for your kids to get into.
9. Don’t overload that To Do list! – Don’t put too many things on the list in point 6 or you’ll end up frustrated when you don’t get them all done! Be realistic.
10. Be flexible with your schedule – If you’ve allocated a task for the morning but it’s just not happening, don’t push it. All you’ll do is end up frustrated and stressed out. Tackle it later when you’ve had a break and can come back to it fresh.
11. Map out different areas of the home for work, play, quiet time – Help your brain and body adjust to different tasks by creating different places in your home for each activity. Set up a desk just for your work, a table for the kids to play/draw on. Be creative!
12. Keep up supplies of stationery, art and craft materials – Have some go-to piles of paper, pots of pens, pencils etc so your kids always have something to do when they’re not sure what to do!
13. Explain to your work colleagues that you’re juggling kids and work – They’ll likely be doing the same thing and will know how it feels too!
14. Use rewards and incentives – This works for both adults and kids! Treat yourself to something nice when you’ve knocked out a work project or your kids have been playing quietly for a while.
15. Don’t panic about keeping the home really tidy – Let your kids play forts with blankets, cushions and chairs whilst you sit at the dining table with the only remaining chair. Let them sit in a laundry basket pretending it’s a boat or get all their toys out and set up a make-believe school. You can clear it all up later but it may keep them occupied for a while!
16. Take regular breaks – Break up the day into small slots of work with plenty of play and fun, family time. We all work better in small, focused chunks.
17. Use screen time and don’t feel guilty – For you or your kids, use screen time intentionally as part of a balanced day.
18. Plan ahead – When I know I need to concentrate for a block of time, I get all the colouring stuff out beforehand and lay it out with water bottles and a snack. I’ll get the paper out, print out some worksheets, dot-to-dot, word searches etc so they’ve got a load to be getting on with and they won’t have to interrupt me so much to get something for them (that’s the idea anyway!).
19. Explain to your kids what’s going on – Let them know that mummy or daddy needs to work and they have to be quiet and helpful but that you’ll have plenty of time to play with them in between.
20. Be kind to yourself for juggling it all! – It’s always going to be difficult keeping it all together. If you have a bad day, don’t worry. Just remember you’re doing your best!
TRIAL AND ERROR!
I hope these tips for working from home with kids is helpful. I must admit that it’s a bit trial and error and what works one day, doesn’t always work the next.
Kids at different ages will each present their own set of challenges but the important thing to take away from reading this, is that you’re doing the best you can.
Working from home with kids around isn’t easy, particularly if you’re trying to do a good job with work and a good job at parenting. The two don’t always sit well together.
A SIDE NOTE
There are a couple of other things which I do which aren’t on this list but they really help to make my working-mum life so much easier.
#1 Declutter my home
When I have less stuff in my home it’s so much easier to keep clean and tidy. My home looks and feels bigger, it’s less distracting visually and it’s generally a calmer, more inviting place for my family to live in.
We can still muck about, play games and have fun, but tidying up afterwards takes minutes instead of hours. That means I have more time for other things like unwinding at the end of the day and doing something just for me!
#2 Set up some household routines
I hate doing housework but by putting in place some simple routines and habits, I can keep my home running smoothly with minimum effort from me.
Again, that means more time and energy for me to do other things than catching up on laundry when I could be catching up with my favourite TV programme.
Here are some other posts which might help: