Looking after kids all day is extremely challenging as it is and if you do it.. you deserve a medal!
Throw into the mix a Corona Virus Pandemic where many children will now be at home with parents who are working from home and you have an absolute nightmare (for some).
For many parents, who have been told to work from home and as schools close down around the globe, without a doubt over the next few weeks it will be a continuous challenge to blend our home and work lives.
It’s not ideal, but something that needs to be done.
We love those little guys… there’s no doubting it! However, when you are trying to work from home with children (especially those under 5) it becomes almost unbearable.
I have a child under 2, so I know!
That is if you haven’t got a plan for how you’re going to accomplish it.
I’ve come up with some absolute top tips for working from home with the kids in tow and how you can do it with your sanity in tact!
1. Work out a Schedule
Children like and appreciate structure. More than we realize.
It’s important to produce a schedule at the beginning of the week, for things yourself and your kids will be doing on a daily basis.
Don’t just wing it, especially if you’re trying to get work done.
You’ll find yourself not doing as much work as you wanted and your kids will likely be running around like wild animals bored out of their brains.
You’ll need to schedule in things like creative play, lunch time, study time, unwinding, chores etc.
Create a schedule that works for you and the kids and adjust the timings as the days go on.
2. Set up a Workspace
Make sure you have a dedicated work area within the house.
This could be a special corner, chair, bedroom, bathroom; whatever it is, it needs to be a place you only go to specifically to do work.
When your kids are in study time, they should also have a designated area just for learning. This will encourage them to actually study, when they’re in their study area.
Create a system where your kids know not to bother you. Whether that’s a fun door sign or interactive countdown timer.
Coordinate both your work time with their study time, so that you are both busy in your ‘areas’ at the same time.
Utilize nap and bed times to cram in the bulk of your work. That’s if you have really small children and can’t manage throughout the day.
3. Take regular breaks
Like I talk about in my How to be more productive blog post, overworking yourself is only going to lead to burn out and can have the opposite effect when it comes to productivity.
Take the time to unplug from work and the kids if you can.
Go for a walk maybe.
4. Make an activity jar
Kids get bored.
And what happens when they get bored?
They become a little more disruptive and come to you for guidance or entertainment. This can be extremely detrimental to your work life balance.
So why not create an activity jar where you and your kids would write down and fill a jar worth of cool activities they can do at home.
That way when they do get bored, there will always be something for them to do.
Mix the jar with housework, creative projects, learning activities and exercises. This will make sure they’re getting a bit of everything through the day!
You’ll be surprised how well this works in a house full of kids.
Here’s a list to get you started 😉
5. Get rid of the guilt
At times like this, you don’t need to add the extra pressure of entertaining or educating your kids 24/7. You have a job.
There are times when you just gotta do what you gotta do.
So don’t feel guilty if your kids are stuck in front of the TV longer than usual or that you aren’t spending enough time with them.
If the day doesn’t go to plan and things haven’t worked out the way you thought, let go and adjust the following day slightly which will allow you to catch up.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you have a partner, also working from home, switch things up and take turns with responsibilities.
Communication is key and works both ways, so make sure you are clear with the expectations and work load.
This is so you can figure out a schedule that works best for you both.
When you communicate your schedule, you partner will know what to expect from you daily.
With everything you’re going to need for the kids and for yourself, in advance!
For the Kids this may mean extra colouring books, online lesson subscriptions, activity centres, fun costumes or even empty boxes for building forts!
For yourself, you want to make sure you have a priority list, working computer, internet, a remote system and way of communicating with colleagues (if you’re employed).
Remember nothing is set in stone, try to be flexible with work and your kids.
Remember things come up unexpectedly and you should be able to deal with those situations.
Mindfulness is key
At times like this, it’s important to be grateful and remember you have the opportunity to not only still work and earn money but also be with your family.
It can be a true blessing. Embrace the fun times and sweet moments.
The bottom line..
At the end of the day, you are working whilst trying to raise children at the same time. It’s hard. Give yourself a break.
This is only a short term solution for a difficult time that WILL pass.
Do the best you can for the time being and then adapt the schedule as time goes on.
Use the tips above and find what works for you.
If you found this post useful, please share it as it may help others out too!