Working requires knowledge, time, effort, and dedication. With the pandemic still around, working at home has become the new norm; and this also requires a different set of skills. Working at home with kids is a whole new arena.
There are more responsibilities to think about and tasks to accomplish. You will think about your kids, what they do, what they eat, your home, is it safe for the kids, is it clean enough to play around in, and of course your work. It’s a responsibility on top of many other responsibilities. Working at home with kids is indeed a challenge.
Nevertheless, despite the challenge it brings, many are still successful in keeping things organized at home, the kids well taken care of, and stay on top of their to-do lists for work. For those who are struggling, fret not as everyone working from home with kids has experienced what you are going through right now.
It can get quite stressful especially at first; there will be a lot of trials and errors. However, once you get the hang of it and establish a system that works for you, it can be a lot more manageable. Here are some tips for working from home with kids:
Prepare before a workday
This applies to both your tasks and the kids’ tasks. Preparing all your gadgets or needed materials for work the night before will allow you to have more time in the morning to do other house tasks. This also applies to your kids’ needs. During the day, they would have a lot of energy, and you would most probably be busier.
Preparing what you think they would need for their morning activities will help in making your work and their day run smoothly. There would be fewer interruptions like “Mom, where’s my pencil?”, “Dad, have you seen my crayons?”, “Mom, do we have extra paper?”, and you would have more time to finish tasks for work.
Set a designated work area
Working at a specific place, where you can truly focus will be beneficial. It will also increase your productivity. If your kids are still quite young, set up a play area or a “workstation” for your kids next to your desk. You can still see them while you work, so fewer worries for you. A “workstation” can also do the trick in keeping them quiet during meetings.
Kids love to mimic what adults do. Having their workstation next to you will allow them to see how you are when you work. Your focus at work can also make them more focused on their “work.” If your kids are old enough to do things on their own, say they are in grade school, you can set up their desk in a separate room.
Make a schedule
Setting up a schedule for you and your kids will give you more balance. Try to synch their busiest activities during your break time, so you can guide them and keep things safe for them.
Don’t forget to add nap time to the schedule. It is during this period that you can take advantage of the free time well. Plotting a schedule is good, but don’t be too stiff. There will always be times when the schedule won’t be followed, and it is okay. As much as possible, the schedule should have flexibility.
Once the schedule is set, you get to do your own thing, while your kids also do theirs. Eating lunch together can be a good breather for both you and your kids.
You can catch up on how they are after their morning activities, and give them a recap of what they would do next. Having a chat over lunch will also help in lessening interruptions in your afternoon work schedule.
Have time for the outdoors
This tip goes to both you and the kids. Being surrounded by trees, flowers, and a whole lot of greenery refreshes the mind. It will give you your much-needed break from the long hours of sitting in front of the computer, and it will give your kids a breather too. It can be as short as thirty minutes, or longer if your schedule permits.
They will surely enjoy their time outdoors, and you can have a bit of alone time outside work too. You can also take this time to squeeze in a workout. These workout activities can be done outdoors for fresh air, or even indoors to stretch your body and keep you energized for the rest of the day.
Set a reward system
Make a reward system for your kids so they can be motivated to keep quiet, to do their work, and enjoy while doing them. This is something that they will surely look forward to and strive to achieve at the end of the day.
Follow a sleep schedule
As much as possible, set a sleep schedule for you and your kids. Kids and adults alike should have enough hours of sleep to be at their best. Your kids would be less cranky the next day, and you would have more patience in dealing with your kids and your clients or workmates. It’s a win-win situation.
Talk to them about your setup
Beginnings are crucial as they will set the tone of your time at home with kids. May it be the night before or the weekend, make sure to let them know about your setup. Just like you, they are new to this. They would need guidance and a lot of patience. Making them know of the changes and the structure of your work at home system will help them behave accordingly.
They would know when it is okay to ask you something when it is okay to play with you, and where are the places they can work at or play in. Working at home with kids sounds too daunting, but it is doable.
Give yourself a break
Juggling a variety of roles at home can be exhausting. At worst, it can be draining. It is important to give yourself a break. You shouldn’t wait until you feel extremely tired; include break time from your job and housework in your schedule. Your body and mind will be thankful for this.
Achieving a balance between work and life is difficult, but it can be achieved. Take a cue from these work-life balance quotes from successful individuals in their chosen fields. Hopefully, these tips for working with children at home can work for you too.