If the thought of working from home with your kids seems terrifying, you are not alone! Parents cope with learning how to work from home while juggling their career with educating and caring for their kids. Your children demand around-the-clock attention and parenting. Meanwhile, work also requires tight deadlines, never-ending emails, conference calls, etc. It’s no joke, right? Work-from-home tips for parents can do all the trick!
The scenario may not be relatively smooth or perfect, but these work from home tips for parents can make your new situation a little easier. So, how can you meet work obligations with parental responsibilities?
Planning ahead of time is the best practice — and working from home with kids is no exception. Whether it’s a large board that’s posted in your house for everyone to see, planning time for working, teaching, and fun, keep everyone focused on doing one thing at a time. Map out a plan for helping the kids throughout the day that coincides with each person’s work responsibilities.
But sometimes, things might not come according to plan, and if they don’t, it’s okay to adjust. There’s no specific method that will work for every family. However, if you’re a little flexible, you’ll soon find a way that works for both you and your kids, where everyone is getting things done most of the time. As you go along with planning, you might even want to keep a documented list of options.
One of the best work from home tips for parents is being flexible with their schedules. With multiple people’s priorities and tasks to balance, it is essential to carefully line up your day. Make a schedule for each member of your family. Individual schedules will help you understand each person’s workload, priorities, and potential conflicts.
So make a list of what your family needs to get done – from work calls, zoom conferences, completing work tasks, school zoom meetings, school works, meals, chores, playtime for kids, to anything else. Once you have organized everything, post a weekly schedule where the whole family can see it. But, of course, plans may change, and sometimes work tasks get dropped on short notice. So, be prepared to make adjustments as you go. You’ll get more jobs done if you work smarter, not harder.
Communication is, of course, an essential part of any job. Everyone in the family tends to understand more if there are clear expectations set beforehand — kids like order, routine, and knowing what’s ahead. Breaking up the day into clear chunks of time for both yourself and your kids lets everyone know what to expect.
As a work from home tips for parents, it is best to establish ground rules between work time and school time. You must explain to your kids that you will be working from home now, just as they will be doing their schoolwork and classes at home. You can talk about what everyone should and shouldn’t be doing during your work hours and school hours. Let your kids know that you have specific tasks that you must accomplish, and you can’t take frequent breaks to help them.
For example, if you have an urgent meeting where you can’t be interrupted, they can help by giving you quiet time. Post a sign at your workstation that you can flip to read “open” or “closed.” Also, explain that you’ll come out and check on them once you finish with whatever it is you’re doing.
Parents get ready to restructure your house! Choose a designated workspace for every working adult in the house. Find a room away from the main areas of your home where you won’t get interrupted and with a door you can close, if possible. This area sets boundaries among your children that they need to stay away from when you’re in your workstation unless it’s an emergency. Make your workspace similar to the one at your office.
Some parents may find it helpful to share the kitchen table while working at home with kids doing their schoolwork. That way, they can attend to answer school-related questions, help with subject matters, or keep an eye on them. Getting a headset with a noise-canceling microphone and mute button helps block out surrounding noise while working.
As for your kids, set up a learning space just for them. Whether it’s a personal desk in their bedroom or the kitchen table, you can encourage them to help by organizing school supplies or setting up a designated shelf for grab-and-go snacks. You can also add little flourishes of their own to make their study area even more comfortable.
Just like adults, kids need social time too! When school time ends, and you’re still stuck with workloads, make sure your kids have age-appropriate and safe activities to keep them busy and occupied while you’re working from home. The idea is that your children will stay engaged, and you can turn to your workstation and accomplish your to-do list.
If you give them a little quality time for themselves, you’ll get more hours to work. Set aside a few toys that your kids can play with, arrange playdates, or special kids’ shows on Netflix viewings only during your work time. If your kids have something to look forward to, they’ll be less likely to interrupt you. It’s often going to save your day.
Naptime can be a great opportunity to get more uninterrupted hours and do more complicated tasks that have been piling up all day. While specific tasks may have deadlines during regular work hours, some can be handled at any time. Take advantage of naptime for staying productive while working from home.
Whether it’s frequent short naps or longer naps, use this time to finish tasks that require focus and concentration. Your children’s daily naps offer a window of quiet hours that gives you a chance to get work completed. It’s a good idea to schedule tasks that require silence when there won’t be any destruction or noise in the background. Naptime can free up an hour – or two or three – of uninterrupted time to work.
Working from home with kids in an unprecedented situation requires harmony and order, however possible. It’s not easy to keep kids behaving the way you want them to be at a certain point. Kids are kids. Some rewards could be just the incentive your child needs. It’s something your child earns for doing what you asked.
As a work from home tips for parents, make a plan for how you might reward your child for good behavior while you are busy. Consider using tangible and intangible rewards – from allowing them more screentime to just merely giving them a thumbs up. Remember, kids will do more of what gets them the most attention, so make sure you acknowledge good behavior!
As working from home with kids becomes a new normal, you’re going to be multi-tasking, and you’ll need a break yourself. When you are in the office, it is common to have a short break to refuel your mind. But when you work at home, the structure is going to be different. Your work-time can sometimes get tangled with your break-time. That is why you should set a specific hour for breaks.
So, make sure to get up from your desk during those breaks. You can move around and keep yourself relaxed. Do anything to clear your head and stretch your legs. Get some fresh air, grab a healthy snack, or check with your kids and do some playtime. You may also take short naps or do some exercises. All of these activities will help you reset, get your blood flowing, and make sure you’re ready to tackle the next chunk of your to-do list. If you don’t have a work-life balance, you won’t last too long working from home.
When everything is out of control, seek extra help when you need it. You will have days when you need assistance, and that’s okay. We live in unprecedented times, which doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to your family, friends, or colleagues for help. You can ask for their advice on handling a situation you’re dealing with while working at home with kids.
If you have a partner at home, take turns spending time with the kids so you can each have constant time to focus on work. Also, with access to technology, you can easily engage with people outside your home. For example, Zoom allows kids to video conference with relatives, friends, and teachers virtually while you’re busy at work. You can call grandma to spend 30 minutes reading a book to your kids on FaceTime. You can also ask for the help of ‘virtual’ babysitters.
Living through a pandemic can be stressful, putting all together with your professional and personal life into your home. When times are tough, it’s natural to feel depressed. This situation comes with many challenges, but if we can look at the advantages of working from home, it will come easy.
Try to balance your remote work, raising your kids, and taking care of the household. It will take the pressure off and enables you to see the brighter side of things as they come. After working from home with kids, write down what you’re thankful for and have a one-on-one conversation with your kids so no one is left behind. Just focus on what’s most important, have a positive outlook, and embrace this chaotic time together.
Things are changing quickly every day, and most of us have seen our daily routines turned upside down. As working from home with kids becomes the new normal, everyone tries their best to manage their own set of obstacles and challenges. Though it may not be easy, it does become more doable as time goes by.
As a work from home tips for parents, build a temporary structure for your temporary circumstances. Good planning, flexibility, and implementing your game plan can help you create an environment where everyone can fulfill their obligations. Try to balance work and quality time with your family while you’re all stuck at home. Keep in mind that the situation is only temporary.
4Kids.com offers a wide variety of opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all year round! Check out our list of kids resources. Are you looking for more things to do with kids around your local area? Browse through our places to go and camps section. If you’re even more curious and seek to learn more about kids’ topics, tips, and guides, check out our parenting blog posts.
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