Working at home while your kids are home from school
Are you trying to work at home while your kiddos are home from school? It can seem a bit daunting.
Just as soon as you’ve settled in to work on your laptop or get tasks done, your little one needs something.
If you’re the only parent home at that time and you don’t have support from a partner, grandparent or nanny, it can be difficult to focus. But it doesn’t have to be impossible. Sure, you gotta make some adjustments and be flexible with your time. However, with the right mindset and strategies you can work at home and actually get things done.
Mindset shifts and strategies that will help you get work done:
Ditch your planned schedule and become adaptable. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a schedule and not being able to stick to it. With kiddos at home, things will not always go smoothly. Being okay with that makes things a lot easier. Create a to-do list of things that you have to get done and stick to those and release the rest
Create an at-home routine:
Just as you have a routine for school days, create one for when the kiddos are at home. A PJ day might be okay for the weekend, but it’s not really helpful for the weekdays. Requiring your kids to do their chores and get ready in the morning, can bring in some additional structure to their day and yours. Also having a routine you stick to helps as well. Making sure you get ready and also schedule time for daily yoga or working out can greatly help you feel more energized.
Focus on rewards rather than punishments:
There are bound to be times of tantrums and conflict where your kiddo just might not want to listen. Staying calm and talking them through it can help. Also, focusing on rewards for positive behaviour can help motivate them to calm down quicker when they get upset. A really helpful parenting app I recommend is the Bright Parenting app. It offers really helpful tips.
Spend time with them before getting to work and during breaks :
Spend time with them for a portion of the day or before getting to work. Help them make a meal or snacks, play a game or read to them and then get to your work. This will help them know that they matter.
Use a timer:
Using a timer can help you when you need to focus on a task and not be interrupted, one that has a count-down mode helps. Even if they can’t tell time properly, seeing the numbers and knowing that they can interrupt you once it rings, helps them wait until then.
Create an arts and crafts corner and stock it up:
One of the best things I did when my daughter was a toddler was to get her an arts and crafts desk, that she still uses to this day. As she’s gotten older she spends more and more time, creating, painting, making crafts and working on projects while sitting at it. Having an adjacent arts and crafts drawer filled with construction paper, sketch pads, paints, markers, crayons and all sorts of similar items can help keep your kiddo busy for longer periods of time, without being stuck in front of a screen device. (Note: If you allow them to use paints unsupervised, chances are you will get paint smudges on your furniture. If you’re okay with that, then go for it. If you have brand new furniture and are concerned, stick to crayons, watercolours and washable markers.)
Stock up on cardboard boxes:
You don’t need fancy items, in fact the most common item your kiddo will spend a ton of time playing with and working with is a plain old cardboard box. Make sure they have arts and craft supplies and let their imagination run wild.
Put on some music:
Music can change the atmosphere of your home and it can be nice to dance to or work with both for yourself and your kiddos.
Stock up on picture books:
Whether you have some at home, borrow them from the library or purchase them new. Fun picture books can keep your kids entertained for a while. Can’t make it to your local bookstore or library, no problem, check out Epic! an online learning and reading platform with thousands of books that you can choose from. You can visit their website here: www.getepic.com
Allow for screen time but not too much:
Sometimes you have an important deadline or you need a solid hour or two to get things done. Choosing fun and educational cartoons or games can help keep your little ones busy. However, keep in mind that screen time is not recommended for children under 2 years of age and should be limited for kids older than that. More and more research is coming out that has discovered that too much screen time has a negative impact on the well-being of kids. Also, the average number of hours kids spend in front of screens is going up, so it helps them if we can set limits.
Ask for help from your partner:
If you absolutely need more time to get work done during a specific period due to a deadline, it’s okay to ask for help. If you have a partner that isn’t working from home, but will be home during the weekends, ask for support with childcare so you can focus on those weekends to work for that specific time period.
Schedule time for self-care and unwinding:
At the beginning or end of the day, make time for yourself to workout, rest, read or do yoga. It can work wonders in making you feel better
Schedule more sleep:
The nice thing about not having to rush your kiddos out the door each morning is that everyone has more time to sleep. The reality is, many parents (and even kids) aren’t getting enough of it. So, while you probably want to stick to a routine, if you want to catch more Zzz’s see if you can squeeze an extra hour of sleep in for your family each day. The time you would have used in a commute to school or preparing for it, could be used for getting more shut-eye.
Be patient and understanding with yourself:
If you’re the one home with your kiddos, the reality is you might not get as much work done as you would have when they were in school. Accepting the fact, prioritizing the most important tasks and being patient and understanding with yourself is crucial. Whether you’re trying to complete a program of study or working at a company, chances are your instructor or boss will be understanding, but if they are not and they question your integrity and work ethic and try to make you feel bad, don’t let it it get to you.
Even getting a couple tasks done during the day with kiddos at home is great and don’t forget the most important job of all, which was taking care of your kids, making sure they were fed and loved, which is just as valuable as getting any other tasks on your to-do list done.
These are just a few strategies that can help you work at home when your kiddos are home from school. Knowing that some days are going to be tough to get things done will allow you to release perfection. Looking at the upside is one way to go about your day. Not having to rush in the mornings, getting more sleep and having more time to be with our kids are benefits of being home with them. Our kids are only little once and before we know it they’ll be heading off to college. Really cherishing the time we spend with them can make all the difference.
What are some ways you’ve found helpful for working with kiddos at home?