If you find yourself working from home with kids, never fear, many parents have been managing it successfully for years. So, keep in mind a few tips that parents can employ to make it work, when working from home.
1. Openness and Communication
This is going to be key – with all the major players in your life. That means being open and communicating effectively about needs and expectations with your employer, your partner, and your kids.
Talking to your employer up front about a few things is a necessity. Things like priorities in an uncertain business environment, conference calls, and flexible work hours. This can help prioritize tasks with your employer and set expectations for how to make conference calls workable for everyone. Barking dogs and screaming kids can make these calls more challenging. But getting as much info up front as possible can help you and your employer avoid those situations.
That same kind of frank talk with your partner is just as important. If you both find yourself working from home, a little communication will go a long way. Especially when it comes to scheduling who has a call and when, and who will be on-duty with the kids.
Even with your kids, good communication will make things go more smoothly. Mapping out with your kids when you will need to focus on work and when you will give them your undivided attention is the best strategy. This will set up realistic expectations for everyone (and will also be important to get them on board with letting you work in peace when you need to).
2. Create a Dedicated Home Office when Working from Home with Kids
If you’re able, you might really need to set up a home office. If you’re ready to formalize your working space, there a couple of key pieces that you’ll want to think about.
It may sound daunting, but with online shopping you can avoid the mania of stores and actually set up an office more quickly than you might think, especially with a product that is quick to assemble like the electric standing desk from Wayfair shown below.
Creating organization will be a necessity. A bookcase can be a real lifesaver. The Bell’O Ashford Bookcase in white and pure gray is a rock star at home office organization with removable storage dividers for the upper shelves and two spacious lower drawers – a file drawer and general storage drawer. This is also great for organizing a kid’s room for those school-age kids doing schoolwork from home.
3. Avoid Multi-tasking
Many parents who have long been pulling off the juggling act that is working from home with kids have discovered that multi-tasking is a myth. Trying to successfully finish a report while refereeing your squabbling kids can make a one-hour task take well over two hours. And, your kids will notice and behave accordingly (badly) if your “quality time” with them involves regularly taking calls and checking emails on your phone. Better to set times for both work and playtime with the kids and not let the two bleed into each other when you can help it. Again, this can require good communication and effective division of time and labor with your spouse. It might even require bringing in outside help, but the payoff will be worth it when you know you’ve avoided sheer exhaustion. Especially because you’ll be far more effective at everything.
4. Set up Tools for Kids to Both Entertain Themselves and Learn
In that ideal picture in your head, your kids will only play with educational toys, will only eat organic food and will happily entertain themselves without the aid of screen time. In reality, they will sometimes be entertained by screens. But they may also often benefit from screen time or other electronic entertainment. And with older kids potentially being at home rather than school, there may be the need for electronic learning that could involve using your TV as a monitor. No matter the situation, a TV stand with Bluetooth compatible speakers, like the one shown below can really come in handy. It holds your TV and can serve as the wired connection for your television’s sound, but it’s also great for streaming audio for podcasts and kids’ programs. Even online classes for kids doing school at home.
5. Give Yourself a Break
It may seem counter-intuitive, but getting more comfortable with the anxiety that surrounds the situation can actually help you. Everyone feels anxious about things – from what they see on the news, to their health and that of their kids, to being able to get the job done for work with kids around. But giving yourself a break if you do feel some anxiety is a form of self-care. Accept that we all feel anxiety, but try to find ways to mitigate it. Put a limit on your news intake, put the phone down and be fully present when you are with your kids, and remember to take a second to feel grateful for all the good things in life like family, friends, and online shopping.
Making it Work When Working at Home with Kids
No matter what, you’re the expert on your family and have all the tools you need to create the systems that will work for your family. It will just take a little practice and some trial and error, but it’s an experiment that has the potential to be far more fun than your kids’ science fair projects (unless you’re into that sort of thing…). For more tips on making life at home (possibly with kids and work) easier and more beautiful, check out more of our blogs or follow us on social @TwinStarHome.