“Working from home doesn’t mean you lose the sense of professionalism. It means you have to create a warm work environment to become more productive than ever.” - Anonymous.
With the evolution in the working culture, working from home has become a dream for many people. You get to enjoy yourself at home while having coffee in your favorite mug and you feel like the luckiest person on the earth? But wait what if you have a toddler? With kids, it is just a mission impossible!
Are you the one who thinks working from home is easy? My friend, you are wrong! Go and ask someone who is managing the working hours with notorious kids asking to play along. It’s tough!
Imagine how someone could get anything done with the constant barrage of interruptions, snack requests, and play requests. Sometimes it creates a situation where you feel vulnerable and exhausted.
Juggling work and looking after kids can be done. Yes, you read it right! It can be done! But how? You just need a few tips. So, here I am with the tips for parents working from home with kids.
Ten Tips for Parents Working from Home with Kids
Here are a few ways to make the experience of working from home a tad easier.
1. Make a Schedule
Make a home routine for your kids! Jot down their meal times, sleep times, study times, playtimes, or any other curricular activities. Make a proper routine of these activities and stick to the schedule.
According to the schedule of your kids, you can set up a flexible schedule for yourself. You can include things like when you'll do the chores, how many hours you'll work per day, and when and how you'll spend time with the kids.
2. Be Upfront
No matter how much you try to be productive while working from home, your kids will surely peep between the important video calls and meetings. Either they will show tantrums during a call, or they will require you to help with an emergency in the house, but they will surely disturb you.
The worst thing you can do is to pretend everything is fine. Better than, pretending that everything is fine, be upfront with your team about your kids, and tell them what working from home look likes for you. This might help you get an adjustable schedule that will allow more flexibility.
3. Work in Short Bursts
Being a parent of toddlers and babies can impact your professional life. You can’t leave them alone. If you are the only one responsible for childcare, the best option is to work in short bursts. It will help you to work and to take care of your notorious kiddo.
4. Engage Kids in Activities
Your kid is never going to sit quietly or read books all day while you are working. So, keep your kids immersed in some activities like puzzles or encourage them to create something from scratch with art materials.
If you are okay with your kids having some screen time, then you can choose some educational resources like Learn at Home, Scholastic or show them games or rhymes that teach things like spelling and music.
5. Schedule Meetings Wisely
Almost every parent working from home has a few mishap stories to share. Plan for interruptions by giving your kid nonverbal “ do not disturb” signs when you are in important meetings and conferences.
Of course, that is not going to work with toddlers, so you better schedule your important calls during their sleep time. Be prepared to mute your calls or reschedule your meeting to accommodate your childcare responsibilities.
6. Nap Time is Work Time
Naptime is work time! Read that again. Parents know that a kid's daily naps offer a window of peace and silence in which the work is done. Therefore, it is smart to schedule tasks that require peace during your kid’s nap time. You can also prepare some tasks for other quiet hours, such as early mornings or after they have gone to bed.
7. Share the Load with your Partner
It is not only the responsibility of one person to take care of a child. So, have clear expectations of who does what in the child care equation. If you don’t have a partner, try to find ways to ask for help within your tribe. It is always good to ask for help.
8. Focus on the positive
Most of the parents work from home by choice, others have had to adjust unexpectedly to this new working culture. This situation comes with its challenges, but everything has a solution. Therefore, always be easy and focus on the positive. It will help you enormously on stressful days.
9. Know when to Sign off
Mastering the work-life balance is not easy. While many of us praise the virtues of working from home, you can also end up feeling like you are always at work. That’s why it is important to know when to switch off.
Being a parent means being flexible with the working hours. Still, it is important to set a time, so that you can confidently say, “You are finished for the day.” This requires self-discipline and setting expectations with your team.
10. Hack your Domestic Duties
When you and the kiddos are home, you may face the challenge of additional cooking and cleanup. After all, home is the playground for your kids. If domestic duties affect your working hours and threaten you, it's time to simplify them. If your budget allows, consider bringing house help or scheduling an occasional meal service.
Also, don’t hesitate to assign age-appropriate cooking tasks to your kids on weekdays. While you work, they can do basic tasks like chopping veggies for dinner or picking toys.
According to a global survey, “Seventy-six percent of new parents reported being sleep deprived. Seventy percent of millennial parents indicated that work pressure impacted the kind of parents they wanted to be. Sixty-seven percent of women and sixty-three percent of men experienced working parent guilt.”
It is not easy to fully concentrate on your work with kids. You won’t change your habits in a day or two. It will also be difficult for your kids to adjust to your working culture. Eventually, you will get through it. I trust you! It is also important for organizations to create an environment that supports, encourages, and nurtures parents working from home with kids.
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