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If you’re stuck working with the kid’s in the house, there’s no doubt it’s going to be challenging! Any parent knows that getting anything done with their kids around can be almost impossible sometimes.
There are some days that will feel highly productive, but often if you don’t have a well-established plan it will be a challenge. Start laughing because even if you worked from home prior to this pandemic and had this amazing productive schedule things change when you have kids in the house.
However, there are some great tips you can follow to make working from home with the kids much easier. It’s all about finding the right balance. Here, you’ll learn some of the best ways you can effectively work from home even with kids in the house.
1. Create a routine early on
Working from home and having the kids home all day is a new experience for both you and them. Therefore, it’s going to help if you create a routine as early as you can.
Kids thrive with a routine so make sure you all have a set wake up, meal and bedtimes. Try and schedule time you can spend together on your breaks too. That way, they are still getting one to one attention from you, reducing the likelihood they’ll pester you when you need to get on with work.
Suggestions on what to include in the schedule: Set wake-up time, dressed, breakfast, brush teeth, snacks, lunchtime, outside time, naptime, craft time, education time, dinner time, quiet time, game time, and more.
2. Prioritize your demands
Look at what you have that is most important to not be interrupted for and aim to schedule your most engaging/reliable activities for the kid(s) to be on their own during that time.
Depending on your flexibility and your partner’s flexibility, you might consider switching to shift work. Maybe you work for four hours (uninterrupted) in the morning while your partner watches the kids, then you switch. You watch the kids in the afternoon while your partner works. Then, when the kids are in bed, you both get a little more work done.
If you’re a single parent, clearly communicate expectations to both your kid(s) and your employer. You’ll need flexibility from your employer to address the needs of any children, so make sure that you’re proactive and you let team members know what to expect from you. Carve out hours of the day when you’re available for calls or virtual meetings, and be sure to let children know what to expect from you as well.
3. Take advantage of nap times
If your kids are still quite young, make sure you take advantage of nap times. These are the perfect opportunity for you to get a bulk of your work done without having to worry about the kids.
If your children don’t take naps anymore dedicate a little bit of time for quiet. This can be for them to read or just to rest. A child needs to rest to allow for growth and development.
4. Plan engaging activities
When you need to get on with an important project, it can help to get the kids immersed in an engaging activity. Craft projects tend to be a popular option. They are fun for the kids, and they take a while to complete.
You’ll find hundreds of craft project ideas online especially on Pinterest. Try and find something which utilizes supplies you already have in the home. Then, they can be getting on with their crafts while you complete your important work tasks.
If your children are at an age where they require less supervision then outdoor activities such as hopscotch, sidewalk chalk, riding bikes, going on a bear hunt, and more are excellent ways to burn off some excess energy especially before naptime/ quiet time.
5. Ensure you have a quiet workspace
One thing you’re going to need when you’re working from home with the kids is a quiet workspace. It should be away from all distractions and ideally, you shouldn’t be disturbed while you’re there.
Of course, this can be tricky, but if you explain to the kids that you can’t be disturbed and why it’s important, you’ll find they are typically willing to listen.
My script: Mommy has to go work for a bit during quiet time. Remember mommy works to put food on the table, take you on adventures, and more. I will be out when time is up and we will…. Then I normally tell them what the rest of the day will entail.
6. Utilize technology
In usual times, you try to limit your child’s exposure to technology. However, when you’re trying to work from home, you’ll find technology can be really helpful whether that be the television or a tablet.
When you don’t want to be disturbed, let the kids watch a movie or play on a smartphone or tablet device. Another idea is for educational applications like ABC Mouse or PBS Kids and Little Einsteins have some excellent educational programs. I can not rave about there program enough. This will keep them occupied for a longer period of time, allowing you to take that conference call for example.
7. Reward good behavior
If your kids do interrupt you, stay calm. You may need to stop what you’re doing and shoo them away or even deal with the problem. But, once you’ve handled the situation, and finished your work, have another discussion with your kids. Explain to them that when they leave you alone, it helps you do a better job, so you need their help so you can do the best work possible.
When your kids don’t interrupt you, reward them. Give them lots of praise, and thank them for their help. Spend some extra time with them and read a book or play a game. While older children may not appreciate the gesture as much, they might appreciate extra video game time.
Yes, these rewards sound remarkably similar to bribes. But working from home with kids sometimes means you do what you have to do to maintain harmony and keep the peace.
It’s not easy working from home with the kids, but it isn’t impossible either. Follow the above tips to make it that little bit easier during these difficult times. If you have more ideas I would love for you to share! I will try just about anything since this has been going on for two months.