While home office has its advantages, working from home when your kids are there is a challenge. A few days might be manageable, but pulling off a long-term productive home office situation with children around is difficult.
Children need to be nurtured daily. Parking them in front of the tv for hours on end while you work can have a negative impact on development. Working parents need a plan of action for the coming weeks, so that the needs of our families and work are being fulfilled in the best way possible.
Here are 5 tips on how to manage kids and work at the same time
Talk to your boss
Speak with your boss about your challenges. Having a conversation about your workload and what’s possible, will help manage expectations. Be honest and realistic about what you’re able to accomplish. A focused 40-hour work week with kids at home might be an unrealistic expectation.
Can some tasks be temporarily postponed? Are there ways to simplify your processes? Coming up with a plan together will help to manage the workload and your stress level.
Take turns with the kids
If both parents are working from home, set up a schedule that allows you to divide and conquer. In the morning, one parent takes the children for a brisk walk, while the other works. Then tap out to allow your partner a chance to work. Switching roles throughout the day will allow both parents to chip away at their workload while keeping the children entertained.
Is there one parent who normally heads to the office before breakfast? If so, this is a great chance to take the breakfast shift and spend some time with your little ones.
Designate quiet time
If your children are older and don’t nap anymore, all is not lost. Quiet time is a great way to help build valuable personal skills (while you get some work done). Designate one hour per day for quiet time (after lunch for example). Allow them the choice between reading books, coloring, playing quietly, or planning the next family game or activity.
Allowing children the opportunity for self-driven quiet time builds independence and confidence by allowing them the space to be creative, and mindful about their thoughts and decisions. It gives kids the chance to unwind, daydream, and refresh for the afternoon. This will also give you a valuable hour for accomplishing important tasks.
Wake up early, or go to bed late
The early bird catches the worm (or work). Wake up before your children normally start the day, throw on a pot of coffee and get to work. One focused hour in the morning can help get the ball rolling on your work for the day.
If you’re not a morning person, then plan to work after the kiddos are in bed. Take care when burning the candle at both ends though, you too can burn out. Make sure you’re resting enough and taking care of yourself. You won’t be much good to either your family or your job if you’re too exhausted.
Include them in your work
Kids love to feel like they’re helping. Find ways to include them in what your doing. Do you work in marketing? As for their input on logo designs. Do you send emails all day? No harm in letting them push a couple buttons and hit send.
While they might not be able to take on financial forecasting, with a little thought, you can find ways to teach them about what you do and include them in the fun.
Keep calm and do what you can
Trying to care for children AND work from home is no easy feat. Times are strange, and we’re in uncharted territory. It’s up to us as parents, employees, and employers to work together in compassion, and come up with solutions that nurture both our families and our jobs.