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Best Tips for working at home with kids
How did these tips for working at home with kids come about?
My husband and I have worked from home since we were married.We enjoy the lifestyle and the freedoms it allows. So with the birth of our first child, we knew we needed to make family with work at home successful.
Necessity brings ingenuity. Between our birth kids and adopted, we raised 9 kids. Not only did we still work from home, but I homeschooled each of our kids through high school.
Of course, life sometimes became chaotic. And we didn’t have all the answers to each situation. But we successfully navigated these work and school at home years.
Since the world is battling against COVID-19 and the most effective way to prevent coronavirus spread is social distancing, working at home with kids is a real challenge.
The COVID-19 has demanded adaptability more than anything, and many families suddenly realize that they have to work at home with kids around. From daycare to schools, families are learning how to work at home and play together every day.
You can make it happen!
Many parents dream of working at home. You say goodbye to the stressful daily commute and distractions at the office in exchange for a comfortable office and more time with your kiddos. Right?
Working at home can be an exceptional experience and full of opportunities to boost your productivity and give your best. However, working at home with kids around makes things a bit more challenging. Your kids, by nature, want your constant attention throughout the day. They do not care if you are on a video call with your boss or in a meeting with your colleagues; they want you to see their painting – right now.
So, how to balance your desire to succeed in your career while also being there for your kids? Below are the best tips for working at home with kids around that will help you to maintain a nice balance between your work and your family and get your job done during the day.
15 Actionable Tips for working at home with kids
1. Plan, Plan, and Plan
Planning ahead of time is always a great practice, and it becomes even more essential when working at home with kids around. It is vital to think ahead to get the most out of your workday. Often, this means routine mapping activities, mainly those your kid can do while you want to focus on your tasks. Depending on your kid’s age, this could be anything like painting coloring pages or bookmarking a maths assignment.
2. Communicate Expectations
Communication with your boss, manager, or your colleagues is an integral part of any job. In-person or remote, letting your employer and your colleagues know what you are working on and what you are struggling with can help make things easier for you.
However, working at home with kids around makes things a bit more challenging. Ensure that you communicate with your boss and colleagues that you have got kids at home, so you cannot guarantee that every conversation will be a distraction and interruption-free.
With luck, you will be able to flexibly work to get your tasks done when your kids are occupied and help them when they need it. Moreover, also make sure to give your colleagues or manager a heads up call before you start a conversation with them.
3. Create a schedule
Another excellent tip for working at home with kids around is creating a schedule. It is essential to manage your work and parenting successfully. If you have got a partner at home, consider creating a split schedule. Breaking up the day into easy to manage chunks of time for yourself and your little ones let you know what to expect.
In this regard, having a manually written schedule listed on the door is excellent. However, if your little one cannot read, add pictures to your schedule and always have a conversation about what your day looks like. Moreover, do not forget to speak through expectations with your kids. If you have to attend an important video conference where you cannot be interrupted, let your little one knows in advance.
It is also essential to give your child a rundown and list things they can do. The schedule may change, of course, so be mentally prepared to make adjustments accordingly.
4. Take the Hours You Can Get
While some tasks may need to be done within traditional work hours, some can be handled at any time. If your tasks are not bound to the clock, you can get creative to maximize your waking hours and split that time with your partner.
For instance, waking up early and get things done is an ideal routine – before the little ones get up, and the email rush starts. So, by starting your day at six or 6:30 am, you can start the morning with many hours of productive work. It will also set your mood and the course for the rest of the day. Similarly, you can also use post-bedtime hours to log work hours, setting yourself up for the next day.
5. Enlist Help
If you have a partner at home, do not hesitate to ask for help or mix things up. Many companies are now being incredibly flexible with their work at home policies, which is excellent for you. For instance, you and your partner could shift your work routine, so only a few overlap. In a recent survey, about 60% of employees who have children under the age of 16 said, breaking up the day into manageable chunks of personal and work hours helps them be more productive.
Without weekend activities, Saturday and Sunday are similar to Monday and Tuesday. That is why shifting the entire week to reduce overlap will enable more childcare responsibility. Do not feel any guilt toward your partner or employer, and maintain open and honest communication with both.
Both you and your partner equally deserve an interrupted work time. Also, keep in mind that interacting with people outside your home is also essential, and it is still possible. Make use of apps like Zoom, FaceTime, etc., to virtually engage with kids, parents, uncles, aunts, and teachers.
6. Stick to a Routine
Another great tip for working at home with kids is to maintain a daily routine. It helps everyone to stay engaged and manage some anxiety caused by this change. Pick up the pen and a paper and write a schedule. Then stick it to the wall so your kids can refer to it all day.
Since some schools are closed for a month or more, you may want to develop “in school” time daily as well. If your little one’s school offers a remote learning setup, follow the map, and utilize the teachers’ resources. However, if not, consider using free resources, such as Khan Academy, that regularly share students’ daily schedules.
7. Become an Early Riser
Starting your workday early in the morning is a great tip for working at home with kids. It allows you to make the most out of your workday. Generally, kids don’t like to wake up in the wee hours, but you should. It is a perfect opportunity to knock a few things off of your expansive task list and get yourself organized before the madness begins.
However, if you are not in the mood to start getting things done early in the morning, utilize this time to get things organized for the workday. At some point, you have to get them done. So, why not at six o’clock in the morning when there are no interruptions to interrupt your flow?
8. Use Virtual Playdates to Reduce Interruptions
Your little ones need some social time. But when you are glued to calls and emails all day, it can be hard to shuttle your kids to playdates. However, thanks to technology and phone and online communication, there are plenty of ways kids can use to connect from the comfort of their home.
Children who can confidently use a device try to schedule a standing virtual playdate or a weekly chat with a relative they do not see very often. Virtual playdates are great for parents working at home with kids. Not only are they great to keep your kids engaged, but they also provide social interaction so you can concentrate on your tasks.
9. Offer Rewards
Another great tip for working at home with kids around is to set goals for your little ones to keep them engaged. If they accomplished the target, offer them incentives. The reward could be anything like a pizza night, popcorn and movie, or 30 minutes at the park. It will also allow them to spend some great time with your kids during the workday.
10. Take Breaks
If you have school-aged kids and they have some school work to do, that’s great. They will be engaged for some of the time they are at home. However, schoolwork doesn’t last all day, or if your kids don’t have school, you probably cannot arrange virtual playdates.
Either way, you have to find some creative ways to occupy your kids and keep an eye on them. In this regard, creating a schedule with frequent breaks is an effective way. Rather than sitting down and working on tasks for three or four hours, break up your workday a bit more. Work for an hour and then take a brief break to hang with your little ones.
11. Stress Less
During your normal work times, you might monitor screen time and limit it. However, working at home with kids during emergency circumstances is a whole lot different. While you don’t want your kids to play video games for weeks, there is nothing wrong with letting them have a bit more time to than usual.
When you are working at home with your kids, you have to let it go. However, explain to them that this is because of your strict work routine and won’t last long. And when you are done finishing your day’s tasks, turn the screens off and move to analog entertainment.
After working all day, you can’t play board games with your family, but you need some non-digital entertainment after gluing to the screen all day.
12. Set Your Own Expectations
When working at home with kids, your productivity will not be the same as working in the office. Working at home with kids means you can easily deliver the essential to-do for the day, which is an accomplishment. If you succeed in delivering it, celebrate it, but forgive yourself and move on when it doesn’t.
13. Prioritize Your Tasks
Prioritizing your tasks and getting things done that require focus and time, like writing first, will make things a bit easy for you when working at home with kids. Also, there will be distractions, and it will take more time than it should, so finishing off the prioritized tasks first is excellent to deliver quality work. Some routine tasks like reading or replying to emails can be done while also giving your kids time and attention.
14. Let Your Kids Make Some Choices
Giving your little ones the freedom to make their own activities, snacks, or self-serve meals helps build independence. It also enables you to get more uninterrupted work time. However, you may have to prepare and package food into single servings a day before and leave them on a low shelf where they can reach easily for younger ones.
Similarly, older kids can pull out activities on their own when it comes to activities, but toddlers will need your help. You can set up activity stations for them to pick from.
15. Hack Domestic Responsibilities
When you and your kids are at home, you may have to face additional cleanup and cooking duties. After all, they see the backyard as their playground, kitchen as the cafeteria, and your room as a playroom.
If you get overwhelmed due to these domestic duties, it’s time for you to simplify them. If you have a budget, consider scheduling a meal service or bring in some cleaning help. Moreover, do not hesitate to assign cooking and cleaning tasks to your children on weekdays (depending on their age). It will keep them engaged so you can focus on your work to get it done.
Working at home with kids around is becoming a norm, mainly because of the COVID19 pandemic. Though it is challenging, it does become manageable with time. If you are struggling to balance your work-family time, implementing the right tips for working at home with kids can drive you through the day. Above, I have discussed some tips and tricks that will help you get your work done on time while also giving your kids attention.
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