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Tips for Working From Home With Kids

Mom working from home on laptop and phone while daughter draws next to her

Tips for Working From Home With Kids

When you work with new coworkers, you face a learning curve—especially when those new coworkers are your kids! Whether your situation is temporary or permanent, telecommuting is more common than ever before, and for many parents working from home with kids is the new norm. If you’re a parent yourself, you know that this non-traditional work setup can present its challenges. Explore this advice from Centrum on working from home with children, and get some pointers on how to achieve your work-life balance with your favorite kiddos by your side.

Working From Home With Kids

1. Make a schedule

Even though you don’t have a stressful commute to factor into your day, establishing a daily schedule and sticking to it is important when you’re working from home with kids. Set aside time for emails, projects, and phone calls, just like you would if you were at the office. Next, make time for breaks too, which you can use to talk or play with your kids. Don’t worry if you can’t follow the schedule perfectly—it’s hard to avoid interruptions when you’re caring for kids. Instead, just use the schedule as a guideline to give your workday some grounding. You may discover that you are more productive in some hours of the day than others, such as in the morning before your kids wake up. Find the schedule works best for you, and feel free to adjust it as time goes on

2. Set up an office space

When you telecommute, having a dedicated office space in your home can help you separate home life from work life. This is especially true when you work from home with kids. If possible, try to find a quiet place in your home where you can sit down with your work materials and concentrate. Some parents get creative with this concept, seeking spots inside bedroom closets or next to washers and dryers the laundry room. Do what works best for you! If your space doesn’t allow you to get away from the noise, consider investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, which can help block out the noise of cartoons and other shenanigans. Keep in mind that a dedicated office helps your kids as much as it helps you. Understanding that office mommy or daddy is different from regular mommy or daddy is hard for kids to conceptualize—a separate space for office work might help them grasp the difference.

3. Communicate with coworkers

Working from home with children can be tough, but you don’t have to be in it alone. Ask a spouse or other caregiver for help when you need to, and in addition, talk to your coworkers about what is going on. Taking care of kids might mean that your hours are no longer strictly from 9-5, and that’s okay. Talk to your boss about your priorities, and try to work out a new schedule together. Do your little ones like to crash your Zoom calls? Don’t worry! It happens. Have your child give everyone a quick wave, before ushering them off in the other direction. Regardless of whether or not your colleagues are parents, they understand that working from home with kids can be unpredictable. Just do your best to communicate with coworkers about any challenges you’re facing, and find ways to navigate the situation as a team.

4. Keep your kids entertained

As most parents know, keeping kids entertained is sometimes easier said than done. However, any fun activities you can plan ahead of time may help make your day a little easier. For younger children, you might want to keep the toy collection nearby for impromptu playtime. If your kids are older, schedule time for reading or chores each day. You can even pre-prepare snacks or meals the day before to save yourself the effort during the workday. One note on screen time: Many parents try to limit screen time for their children, and this is a great idea. However, if you’re having a day where the only way you can get work done is to hand your child the iPad for a little while, try not to guilt trip yourself. No work-from-home situation is perfect, just do the best you can, and forget about the rest.

5. Enjoy the time with your family

Without a doubt, working from home with kids has its challenges. However, being able to spend more time with your family can also be a blessing. Try to get as much done as you can during your workday, and then spend your free time playing, laughing, talking, and eating with your kids. Some parents set aside a lunch hour to enjoy a healthy family meal. Other parents might take a morning or afternoon craft break with their children to relax and have some fun before heading back to their work. How you spend your time with your kids doesn’t have to be the same from day to day; it will probably vary with your schedule. What’s important is that you do your best to enjoy your time with your family when you can—you won’t regret it afterwards!

We hope you found these tips for working from home with kids useful. Visit our Expert Corner for more information on health and wellness, stress management, and more.

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