Since the COVID 19 pandemic, many people have been working from home. For some, it’s a joy to be home and around the kids all day. But getting work done with the kids around can also be challenging. As a freelancer with children, this way of life is not new to me. Here are tips for working home effectively when you have kids.
1. Create a routine.
Having a routine is very important in that it helps you organize your day in advance. Plan out your day the night before so that you have a priority for the work you need to complete. Throughout the day, keep an eye on your task list to keep yourself on track. Having a routine will also mentally prepare you for accomplishing tasks around your kids’ schedules, such as nap time or snack time. Kids work well with schedules, so creating a combined home and work schedule can be beneficial.
2. Wake up early.
This is especially important if you have kids who need lots of attention. Waking before they wake gives you kids’-free quiet time to get through work. Then, you can then spend the rest of the day with them without worrying. Use any chance they sleep, including naps, to work and handle phone calls.
3. Keep kids entertained.
As any parent knows, entertainment is a very effective way of distracting a child. As much as we don’t want to rely on TV, there will come a time when it’s necessary. If you have an important meeting and cannot be interrupted, try putting on their favorite shows. Choosing one of the best children’s books can go a long way too.
4. Give them tasks to handle too.
When you are busy, make sure the kids are active. Set up a small space for your kids to “work” too. It can be art projects, reading, homework, or anything they can do quietly while close to you. They will try so hard to emulate what you are doing since you are both in the office. This will automatically create a conducive work environment, and you will both enjoy working as a team. It’s never too early to learn to talk to kids about money.
5. Make them understand that you have to work.
Due to frustrations and rushing deadlines, most parents may lose their temper and become angry at their kids for distracting them while working. Instead of getting mad at the kids for being a distraction, find a way of making them understand that you have to work. For instance, if they have always wanted a specific toy, you can tell them that you can only get that toy for them if you work hard. Since they need this toy, the kids will ensure that you have a very conducive environment for working. They will try so hard not to interfere with you in any way when you are working.
6. Set clear boundaries.
Setting clear boundaries effectively communicates to your kids that you need time and space to work. This works effectively for work-from-home parents who have older kids who can read and write. For example, when you are busy in the office and have things done on time, you can have a “Do Not Disturb” or “At Work” sign on your door. When they approach the door, they will see this sign and understand that you need space to work and respect it. This allows you to work and complete your tasks on time.
7. Set up a food station in the house.
This is another fun way of keeping your kids distracted while you are working. Although the house may be messy at the end of the day, you will have completed all the tasks that you need to. In addition to that, you can engage them when you are clearing the mess they created to feel the need to help you. Not only is this cleaning time, but it is also time that you can use to bond with your kids after working for several hours.
8. Be gentle with the kids.
Kids pick up the vibrations around them. If you are mad or angry at them, they will feel it. Your job definitely means so much to you, but so do your kids. You need to make them a priority in everything you do to feel that parental love. Instead of being mad at them or shutting them out when working, you should be gentle with them. Talk to them calmly and make them understand why you need to complete your work first. Once this conversation is successful, you will have ample time to work.
9. Get help from other family members.
At times dealing with the kids alone can be a challenge to so many parents. You get overwhelmed with work and taking care of your kids to a point, you can lose your mind. However, if any of your family members are around, you can talk them into helping you look after the kids.
Consequently, if you have a nanny around who your kids are familiar with and relate with perfectly. You can ask her to help you out with the kids for a few hours before bonding with them. If you have friends working from home, consider setting up a childcare swap, giving them some alone time for work while you care for yours and their children, and then swapping for the second half of the day.
Working from home is a challenge for many parents, especially with the kids around the house. However, with all of the above tips, you can effectively work from home, even with the kids around.
Rose Rosie is a writer for the personal finance website, Joy Wallet, which provides readers with useful information, resources, and tools to help maximize their financial fitness.