Families all over the world are currently facing a new reality: working from home all while ‘trying’ to take care of, or even homeschool, their children.
Working from home with kids isn’t ideal, but if it’s a necessity, there are ways to make it, well, work. I spoke to parents and a child psychologist about how to manage kids while doing your job — and actually get stuff done. Here are their top tips.
1) Focus on the positives:
Although some parents work from home by choice, others have had to unexpectedly adjust to this new reality.
This situation comes with its own challenges, but we can all find some advantages in working from home — whether that's avoiding the daily commute, having more time with the family, being home for dinner, or proximity to the fridge.
It won’t always be easy, but focusing on the positives can help enormously on stressful days.
2) Stick to a schedule:
If there’s one thing I heard time and again from those who successfully manage working and parenting, it’s that schedules are non-negotiable. Breaking up the day into clear chunks of time for both yourself and your kids lets everyone know what to expect.
Having a written schedule listed on your door is important.
Don’t forget to talk through expectations with your kids, too. “If you have an urgent meeting where you can’t be interrupted, then let your child know in advance. “It is also important to not only give them the rundown, but show them and list things they can do. For example, ‘lissa, here are the top five things you can do when mom is working.’”
3) Make the most of nap time:
Ah, sweet nap time, how we love thee! (And we don’t mean our own nap time — though that’s great, too.) As many a parent knows, younger children’s daily naps offer a prime window of peace and quiet in which to get work done.
As much as possible, it’s smart to schedule tasks that require silence or focus when you know for (almost) certain there won’t be crying or noisy playing in the background.
Even older children can practice a daily quiet time. Build it into the day’s schedule — after lunch, say — to make it feel more like a habit and less like an inconvenience to active kids.
4) Get a family routine going:
From being consumed by the guilt of not spending enough time at home, working parents are now feeling challenged with too much time at home! If you don’t want your kids to get out of a routine, you can create one that mimics a regular school and work day. Make sure you also stop to enjoy this time with your family by engaging in fun activities and creating new memories as well.
5) Enjoy the moment:
In the midst of all of this negativity and uncertainty while trying to manage the different dimensions of work and life, it is easy to find ourselves caught up in the daily grind and stressing about just the basic process. This is when we need to consciously step up and out to make the effort to stay present, be grateful that we can spend these precious moments with our family and throw in a little fun into this life from home zone. While you are at it, take a moment to support those less fortunate who don’t have these opportunities of health, financial security and time with their family.
While working from home with kids is no easy task, with these tips, it might just be a little easier!
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