Working from home with kids is hard. It’s easy to think, “I’ve got this,” and go into it thinking you’ll be able to juggle everything perfectly.
But a year ago, I was working from home as a single parent with two small children (ages five and under) while trying desperately to hold on to my sanity. You can’t do it all yourself — at least not right away. And that’s totally fine!
Here are some tips that have helped me get through the past year:
|Strategies for creating a productive workspace at home with kids
|Balancing work responsibilities with child care
|Utilizing mindfulness techniques to stay focused
|Using apps and tools to manage time and stay organized
|Maintaining clear communication with employer and colleagues
Set A Schedule
As a working parent, your children are often the ones who will be most affected by your schedule.
As such, it’s important for you to make sure that both you and your kids have time to relax, play, and do things together as a family.
Establishing a self-care routine is crucial to your productivity and overall well-being, especially when working from home. Check out our guide on creating a self-care routine for working from home to improve your mindset and energy levels!
Create A Dedicated Workspace That Can Be Shut Away
When you have children, it can be easy to feel like you’ve lost all control over your space. But if you start with the simple idea that it is yours, and no one else’s, then the rest will fall into place.
The basics of a good workspace are pretty much the same regardless of whether or not you’re working from home with kids:
Keep things quiet and distraction-free. If your home office or studio is in a separate room from where your child sleeps or plays, consider leaving that door open so they know where they can find you (and vice versa).
Ideally this room should also have good lighting and ventilation. Finally and most importantly make sure there are no toys lying around on the floor!
Every single thing should either be put away somewhere specific or completely removed from sight altogether.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean every time someone comes into contact with your work area has to feel like walking through a military base! Your child may choose to hang out near their art project while they wait for dinner or tv time… but having a dedicated spot for yourself allows everyone else in the house some semblance of privacy as well.
Tips for Designing a Productive Home Office Workspace
|Use a Standing Desk
|Standing desks like those from Varidesk allow for a comfortable workspace that promotes productivity and a healthier lifestyle.
|Invest in Good Lighting
|Natural light and balanced lighting fixtures, like those from Philips Hue, can help you feel energized and focused throughout the day.
|Choose Ergonomic Furniture
|Comfortable chairs, like those from Herman Miller or Steelcase, and other ergonomic furniture pieces can help improve your posture and ward off fatigue and discomfort.
|Adding plants to your workspace can improve air quality and reduce stress levels.
|Invest in Noise-Canceling Headphones
|Quality noise-canceling headphones, such as those from Bose or Sony, can help you focus by blocking out external noise.
|Use a Quality Webcam
|Professional-grade webcams, like those from Logitech, provide clear video quality and reduce the risk of technical interruptions during conference calls.
|Hide the Clutter
|Built-in storage solutions like desk drawers and shelving make it easier to keep your workspace neat and tidy.
The above table provides several design tips for creating a productive home office workspace. One of the key takeaways is the importance of creating a dedicated workspace that can be shut away from the rest of the home to minimize distractions and promote focus.
Develop A Routine That You And Your Kids Can Stick To
Creating a routine is all about consistency and reliability, which is why it’s so important for kids. They need to know what to expect from their lives in order to feel secure and happy, which is why it’s so important for parents as well!
There are lots of ways that you can develop a routine with your children. Here are some ideas:
- Set up a regular bedtime routine – bath time, story time and lights out! This will help them go to sleep more easily at night.
- Have breakfast together every morning before anyone goes off in different directions on their own (I like oats mixed with blueberries). You could also have lunch or dinner together regularly if you’re eating at home more often than not.
Incorporating mindfulness techniques into your daily routine can lead to a more productive workday and better focus. Explore our article on 15 simple mindfulness techniques to help reduce stress and increase your concentration!
When you have a regular 9-to-5 job, you can set up your life so that it’s easier to work in the evenings or weekends.
But when you work from home, your schedule is less predictable and harder to control. You need to be very intentional about creating boundaries and routines for yourself and your kids—and then stick to them.
This can be especially challenging when you have young children who are still learning how clocks work (if at all).
But it will become more manageable as they get older. And even if your kids are older and know how clocks work, it still might be hard for them not having regular school days and schedules with friends after school or on the weekend.
But setting boundaries isn’t just about keeping yourself organized; there are practical reasons why creating routines is good for both children and adults alike!
Tips for Setting Boundaries When Balancing Work and Home Life
|Tips for Setting Boundaries
|Establish a Routine
|Set a clear schedule for when you will be working and when you will be spending time with family, using tools like Google Calendar to stay organized
|Use a Separate Phone Line
|Apps like Line2 or Google Voice offer a separate phone line to keep work calls separate from personal calls
|Create Physical Boundaries
|Dedicate a room or specific area of the home for work, using soundproof panels such as those from Costway or Acoustic Geometry to minimize noise between work and home spaces
|Set Clear Communication Expectations
|Clearly communicate your availability and response times with coworkers, using messaging and project management tools like Slack or Asana to keep everyone on the same page
|Use Time-Tracking Apps
|Time-tracking apps like Toggl or RescueTime can help you stay accountable for your time, and can have automatic reminders to take regular breaks
|Make Time for Self-Care
|Schedule time for relaxation, hobbies, exercise or other self-care activities that will prevent burnout and help you unwind
The table above provides several tips for setting boundaries between work and home life to help you maintain a healthy work-life balance. Creating clear boundaries between work and home life can be challenging, but incorporating tools and strategies such as separate phone lines, clear communication expectations, and designated physical spaces can help you achieve a better balance.
Do More Voice Calls Than Video Calls
Video calls are distracting and can cause you to lose focus on what’s important: your work. They’re also hard to manage, because you have to be mindful of the time you spend on them, as well as whether or not the person on the other end is looking at the camera, which can feel awkward for some people.
Voice calls are easier to manage and are better for your mental health—plus they’ll help keep distractions at bay so that you can get your work done faster!
When working from home with kids, it can be challenging to create a productive workspace. Learn how to create a productive work environment at home with kids with our step-by-step guide and optimize your productivity!
Give Your Kids Jobs To Do
You can also give your kids jobs to do so they have something to keep them occupied. Make it clear that this is a job, not just playing around.
Give them a task to complete, and explain that they must finish the job before they can play again.
This will help them feel more confident in their abilities and give you time to focus on your work without worrying about them getting into trouble or feeling bored.
If you’re having trouble staying focused at home, try using one of these tips and see if it helps!
Don’t Feel Like You Have To Do It All Yourself
Don’t feel guilty about hiring help: It’s okay to outsource, delegate tasks and hire a nanny or babysitter!
If there are things that can be done outside of your work day (like answering emails), then it’s okay to ask someone else for help. Don’t feel bad about spending money on the people who can best serve you and your family.
Staying organized in a home office can be a challenge, but it is essential for maximizing productivity. Discover our tips for staying organized in your home office to ensure you accomplish tasks effectively and efficiently!
Keep Mundane Tasks For When You’re With Your Kids.
It’s important to know that there are some tasks that can and should be done while your kids are awake.
Cleaning the kitchen. This is a great time to bond with your children, who can help you clean up their toys or wipe down counters as a reward for good behavior.
Cooking dinner and/or making lunch for the next day. Whether you’re cooking together or giving them specific jobs (e.g., feeding the dog or helping you chop veggies), getting hands-on in the kitchen will likely prove less stressful than working on your laptop while they’re running around like madmen across the house.
Taking out trash or recycling bins without leaving much of a mess behind (a big win if it happens).
Tips for Managing Work and Family Time When Working From Home
|Work-Family Time Management Tips
|Use Smart Home Devices
|Smart home devices, like those from Amazon Echo and Google Nest, can help keep routines on track and simplify tasks such as ordering groceries or setting reminders.
|Outsource Certain Tasks
|Services like Instacart and Blue Apron can save you time on grocery shopping or meal prep, allowing you to spend more quality time with family outside of work hours.
|Prioritize work tasks based on deadlines and importance, using task management apps like Todoist or Trello to keep track of deadlines and share tasks with team members.
|Schedule Time for One-on-One Activities
|Schedule one-on-one time with your children for activities like crafts or games, using resources like Pinterest or YouTube to find inspiration.
|Keep Mundane Tasks for Family Time
|Use family time to tackle household chores or errands, such as cleaning or grocery shopping, to make the most of the time spent together.
|Create a Family Calendar
|Use a shared calendar app like Cozi or Google Calendar to keep track of family activities and appointments, so you can plan work time around them.
|Designate a ‘No-Work’ Zone
|Choose a space in the home where work is not allowed, such as the family room or playroom, to set clear boundaries between work and family activities.
The above table summarizes tips for managing work and family time when working from home. Keeping mundane tasks for when you’re with your kids can be a great way to make the most of your time together and prioritize work tasks for when you’re working alone. Incorporating tools and strategies such as smart home devices, family calendars, and one-on-one activities can also help you maintain balance between work and family responsibilities.
Take Breaks, And Encourage Your Kids To Do The Same
Remember, it’s okay to have time away from your kids. Take breaks when you need them and give your children the same opportunity.
If they’re still young enough to be napping during the day, schedule a break around that time so you can recharge. As they get older, make sure they have similar breaks in their schedule or encourage them to take some free time on their own if they need it.
If it’s not something that is already built into your workday (like when I was a nanny), try scheduling in blocks of time that are just for yourself even if those blocks are only fifteen minutes long! It will help with mental clarity and ensure that everyone gets what they need out of the day without sacrificing each other’s needs too much…
Working from home with kids can present unique challenges. Check out our ultimate guide to working from home with kids for practical advice and strategies to balance work and parenting while working from home!
Remember It’s Not Forever — It’s Just Right Now
One of the hardest things about leaving your job to work from home with your kids is the fact that, if you don’t have another source of income coming in, this will be your life for quite some time.
It can feel like a huge sacrifice and there may be days when you wonder if it was worth it. Those feelings are normal and totally understandable.
But remember: This situation won’t last forever; there will come a time when your child(ren) are older and more independent, which means you’ll be able to go back out into the world again! Your baby steps toward that reality can start with taking one day at a time while making sure they still get plenty of attention along the way.
What I hope to convey here is that working from home with kids is not just a possibility, but it’s also pretty darn easy.
You don’t need any special equipment or even a ton of money. All you need is some time and patience, along with the willingness to set up your space in a way that works for everyone involved: you, your partner/other parent(s), and (most importantly) your kids!
Here are some additional resources related to working from home with kids:
Working from Home with Kids: A Survival Guide – This comprehensive guide provides actionable tips and advice on how to create a productive workspace while also caring for your children’s needs.
How to work from home with kids during the coronavirus outbreak – Today’s Parent offers practical advice and resources for parents who are suddenly working from home with kids due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Working From Home with Kids: Coronavirus Survival Tips – This article provides guidance for managers and employees who are navigating work responsibilities while caring for their children at home.
What are some strategies for creating a productive workspace at home with kids?
Some strategies for creating a productive workspace at home while also caring for your children include establishing a routine, setting boundaries, and communicating expectations with your family.
How can I balance work responsibilities with child care during the day?
One approach is to block out specific times during the day for focused work and plan child care activities during lower-productivity times. Another option is to share child care responsibilities with a partner or caregiver.
How can mindfulness techniques help me stay focused while working from home with kids?
Mindfulness techniques such as meditation and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and increase focus, enabling you to be more productive during work hours.
Are there any tools or apps that can help me manage my time and stay organized while working from home with kids?
Yes, there are many tools and apps available such as Trello, Asana, and Google Calendar, to name a few. These tools can help you manage your tasks, deadlines and priorities efficiently.
How can I maintain good communication with my employer and colleagues when working from home with kids?
Clear and frequent communication is key. Schedule regular check-ins with your supervisor and colleagues to provide updates on your progress and discuss any issues or challenges that may arise. It is also important to set expectations for availability and response times.