Perhaps more than anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded adaptability. You’re either sending your masked kids to school full-time, juggling a hybrid schedule or helping them manage remote school (and countless tech woes). Maybe you’ve switched from offsite daycare to an onsite nanny. Maybe you’re having to help your kids solve math problems between calls or you’re shushing each other during virtual meetings. And then, as soon as your family hits its stride, everything changes. You’re not alone. Here are 11 tips to help you through your day when you’re working from home with your kids around, keep reading to find out what they are!
Be Realistic when Working from Home
Isabelle Wight, a writer at Draft Beyond asks us- “If your children constantly demand attention during non-business hours, do you really expect them to sit in a corner with a pile of crayons, colouring books, or an iPad for hours at a time while you work?”
Even as an adult, I am sometimes easily sidetracked during work hours by phone calls, text messages, email alerts, social media (the ultimate time-suck), or a light bulb that suddenly goes off in my head — just to name a few distractions.
And remember, you are the main attraction for your little ones.
Communication is, of course, an essential part of any job. In-person or remote, letting your boss and your team know what you’re working on and what you’re struggling with can help make your job a little easier.
But, when you add kids to the mix, suddenly work isn’t so easy. Make sure you proactively communicate with your employer that you’ve got kids at home and that you can’t guarantee every conversation will be interruption-free. With any luck, you can work flexibly so you can help your kids when they need it and work when they’re occupied.
Also, make sure that when you’re speaking with anyone—inside or outside your company—you give them a heads up at the beginning of the call. This way, when an argument about the remote control gets a little heated, no one is surprised at the ruckus.
Prioritize your schedule
If you’ve got a partner, the odds are pretty good that person is home with you. And, if you both work, you’ve both got the same problem. How and where do you get work done when there’s not enough space and too many people?
Depending on your flexibility and your partner’s flexibility, you might consider switching to shift work. Maybe you work for four hours (uninterrupted) in the morning while your partner watches the kids, then you switch. You watch the kids in the afternoon while your partner works. Then, when the kids are in bed, you both get a little more work done.
If you’re a single parent, clearly communicate expectations to both your kid(s) and your employer. You’ll need flexibility from your employer to address the needs of any children, so make sure that you’re proactive and you let team members know what to expect from you. Carve out hours of the day when you’re available for calls or virtual meetings, and be sure to let children know what to expect from you as well.
The early bird catches the worm
Some parents rely on getting up before the kids are up. “I find that getting up super early, to fit in focused work before the kids are up works best for me. Then throughout the day, I can fit in calls, emails, or shorter tasks that require less focus. I also try to not define my day by the hours I work, I try to be more focused on the tasks I accomplished.”
Have the talk
Assuming they’re old enough to keep themselves occupied, explain the situation and that you’ll need to remain focused throughout the day with minimal interruptions. Communicate to them that they are a part of the team and their role is to help mommy or daddy remain productive.
Work the graveyard shift
As the adage says, desperate times call for desperate measures. If you’ve had a rough day at the home office and are on the brink of missing an important deadline, pull an all-nighter. Before doing so, take a power nap to boost your energy levels for the long night ahead.
Once you’ve told your employer what’s up, you’ll need to tell your kids what’s up, and that means establishing boundaries. Start with a conversation that working from home means “working.” As much as you or they might like, you can’t hang out.
Reward good dorm
Korey Ray, a blogger at Research papers UK and Writinity says- “Establishing boundaries is just the start. You also need to acknowledge and reward good behaviour. For example, if you’ve got younger kids that require a lot of attention before you start a meeting, let them know what’s happening and that you can’t be interrupted.”
Help them start a quiet puzzle or colouring project, and let them know that you’ll check back shortly. Steer kids toward more calm, relaxing activities, as well as nonviolent, as those can amplify bad behaviour and frustration. For example, be very selective with the video games that are and aren’t permitted.
If your kids have schoolwork to do, that’s helpful. They’ll be occupied for some of the time they’re at home. But school probably won’t last all day. And if your kids don’t have school, you probably can’t arrange playdates or excursions. In either case, you’ll need to find creative ways to occupy and keep an eye on your kids.
Break out of the box
Take some time one evening and create activity boxes. Fill the boxes with activities that the kids can do on their own. Create “theme” boxes and label them, so the kids have some choices. Art projects, glitter projects, or even creating a family tree are all possibilities. Just make sure they’re age-appropriate and contain activities that require minimal help from you.
Have a plan B
Eventually, though, your kids might get bored of the boxes (or you run out of supplies). Have a backup activity jar ready to go!
About the Author
Alex Dubinski has a great passion for reading and writing, enjoys good food and loves to travel. He also writes for the Paper writing service. He is an online marketing strategist at Assignment help Glasgow and Gum Essays, with five-year experience of working in the marketing industry.