With the current situation, things are changing every day, and most of us have noticed our typical routines change. With most of the workplaces allowing work from home, daycare, and schools closing with a new set of rules and regulations, people are spending more time with their family members. This means several working parents are facing an exceptional situation: work from home with kids and without access to the babysitters, camps, and playdates that you might usually rely on getting through a school break.
Yes, it will not be a smooth experience, but there are a few strategies that can make the situation a lot simpler. Here, we have gathered work from home tips straight from remote workers who have maintained a proper balance between their work and kids.
7 Tips to Manage Work from Home with Kids
Create a plan- To make the most of the day quality and quantity- just think ahead. Create a routine so that you can manage a balance between both your work from home and your children. Whether it is lining your school ager’s assignments neatly or planning a fun-filled craft activity for young kids, take a few moments every evening to plan for the next day. You can even create a catalog of activities on which your kids can work independently while you can focus on your work. Schedule a lunchtime and create a structure in the best possible way.
Maintain the structure by following a detailed schedule- Though you might think that as you are asked to work from home, it is okay to sleep late, but no, you should not. Though you can create your schedule, it is recommended to stick to your regular working hours, which will make the transition simpler for all. Our brain is familiar and equipped to follow a routine, i.e., working at the same time every day. Changing that schedule can create confusion which may lead to loss of interest or focus.
Prepare a weekly or daily schedule by keeping your children in mind. With your help, even they can create a plan for them. For the kids, it is a great example and an opportunity to follow a timetable of their own. Even if you are not going to the office, get dressed and try to do the same with your kids.
The idea of work from home in your comfy pajamas may sound cool, but it communicates to the brain that it is time to chill. Getting dressed up the way you used to do while going to the office can make a huge difference in both your attitude and energy level.
Plan virtual playdates- Just like adults, children also need social time. But when you are busy with phone calls the whole day, it can be hard to arrange playdates for your kids. With work from home, you cannot even think of inviting other kids to your place.
Thankfully, with phone and online communication, there are plenty of ways using which children can connect even from their home. For school-going kids who can use a device confidently, try to schedule a standing virtual playdate with their friends, or you can even arrange a weekly chat with your relatives whom they do not see often. Virtual playdates are a win-win situation for work-from-home parents. It not only offers social interaction for your kids, but it also keeps them occupied so that you can focus on the work tasks.
Choose a quiet working space- When you work from home, choosing the right place is very important. This might seem obvious, but it is important. If possible, choose a space where you will not hear any sound or basically where there is no disturbance. This kind of place is apt for taking office calls, online training, and virtual training. This is where giving independent activities so your kids can be helpful.
Set ground rules- It is perfectly alright to explain to your children that you have work that needs to be completed within a stipulated period, and they must give you quiet time. Draw a sign in your working space that you can turn to read “closed” or “open” when you are trying hard to meet deadlines or when you are attending virtual meetings. There will be setbacks along the way, but if both you and your children are on the same page, then things will be easy.
Go for short breaks- When you work from home, you are saving your traveling time, so why not utilize it by taking frequent breaks. Let us be honest, nobody can keep on working at a stretch of 3 to 4 hours and that too with kids at home. Work for about 45 to 50 minutes and then go for a break of 10-minutes. During this short time gap, you can hang out with your kids or keep a check on them. Again, when you go back to work, you will be able to focus more.
Fix screen timings- Yes, we know you are thankful for the kids’ shows on Netflix. Every parent is! But while the TV shows and cartoons keep kids engaged, all of us probably know that it is not good for their health. So, as a work-from-home, how can you reduce the screen time of your kids? According to experts, everything comes with boundaries.
Working parents need to complete their work, and making their kids sit in front of the TV may seem like the easiest solution, but in the future, it can lead to several health hazards. Setting clear rules on how much time your kid can spend on their electronic gadget is important for both child and parent. Include the screen time on the regular schedule which you have made for your kid and when the allotted time is completed, make sure the device is turned off. Some days, your children may get more screen time than usual. Do not feel guilty about it as it is okay to relax the rules sometimes.
Consult with your supervisor- You must have a clear understanding of what needs to be done, expectations, and deadlines. If you are facing issues while doing work from home, talk to your supervisor for some ideas. As an in-charge of all the employees, your supervisor may share how your colleagues are managing work from home with their kids and family around.
Choose times to contact your supervisor. It is important to contact your supervisor to inform you have kids at home, and you may need extra time on certain days. You can expect the organization to understand your situation and give you some leniency.
Divide the responsibilities with your partner- If you have your partner with you, then work together and try to divide all the childcare responsibilities among you. If parenting likings clash between both of you, one of you can handle the serious needs of the kids, whereas the one can take care of the entertainment part or trade-off responsibilities. When one does the office work, the other one can take care of the kids.
Reduce your domestic duties- When both you and the kids are at home all the time, you may have to do additional cooking, cleanup, and stuffs like that. After all, your living room will be turned into a playroom, your background will be a playground, and your kitchen, the cafeteria.
If domestic duties warn to overwhelm you, now is the time to make things simple- or you can even outsource if needed. If there are no budget constraints, consider a domestic help or an occasional meal service.
With these above-mentioned work from home tips, you will not only be able to just manage both work and household with kids but believe us, you will start to enjoy every moment!