A lot of people, especially parents, dream of working from home because it comes with a lot of benefits such as no commute, no office distractions, a comfortable home office, and the opportunity to spend more time with the kids. However, it’s also quite challenging for a parent to work from home with kids around.
If you feel as if your son or daughter has a switch that turns on automatically whenever you open your laptop, then maybe you need some strategies to able to minimize distractions and accomplish your tasks on time. To help you out, here are some tips that you can follow to be able to work from home with children.
1. Designate an Area for Your Home Office
When you have kids around, you will not be able to totally isolate yourself to work especially when no one is around to look after them. However, it will be difficult for you if you will choose to work on the kitchen table. What you need to do is find a well-lit area in your home which has a door and will allow you to organize your files, stay on tasks, and minimize interruptions while still being able to keep an eye on your kids.
2. Adjust Your Work Space
There are some children who can keep themselves entertained as long as their parents are within their sight. If your child is like this, then you can designate a part of your home office as their activity station. You can load that station up with your child’s favorite toys, games, electronics, or art supplies.
3. Offer Incentives
Setting goals for your children can also help keep them occupied. If they will be able to meet the goal you’ve set, you can offer them a reward. Rewards can be a pizza night, a trip to the park, popcorn and movie, or going to the ice cream parlor. Through these rewards, you will be able to finish your work on time and get to bond with your children as well.
4. Create a To-Do-List
Aside from setting goals for your children, you can also provide them with a list of activities or assign them simple tasks such as organizing piles of papers on your desk.
When they are at school for half the day but you still have some work to finish when they get home, you can ask them to join you at your desk. They can either read some books or do their homework there. That will allow you to wrap up your work for the day.
5. Wake Up Early
This is another effective trick for you to maximize your workday. Children usually do not wake up in the wee hours of the morning but parents do. Therefore, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to finish a few tasks on your list and get things organized before the kids wake up.
6. Work on a Graveyard Shift
If you spend the whole day taking care of the kids but worried that you’ll be missing an important deadline at work, then you work at night instead. But before working, make sure to take a power nap first to boost your energy for the long night ahead. Though this may work well in finishing your tasks, you shouldn’t make this a habit because sleep deprivation has negative side effects and might affect your productivity level as well.
7. Use Your Time Wisely
If your child is still an infant or a toddler, they certainly take naps during the day. Though it’s tempting to take naps with them, you can use their nap times to work on your job. Since your child is asleep, you will be able to accomplish a lot of work without any interruption. You can organize your schedule and list important tasks during your child’s nap time.
8. Work on the Weekend
If there are backlogs on your work because you spent a lot of time looking after your kids and you’re desperately looking for a way to get caught up, maybe you can sacrifice your weekends to deal with your work.
For example, you can wake up early on a Saturday or Sunday and try to finish your pending tasks. This is better compared to spending your weekdays dealing with your last week’s workload. To keep you motivated in working on a weekend, you can set a goal for yourself that accompanied by a reward such as a day off or an allowance to spend the night out with your family.
9. Plan Ahead
To avoid missing deadlines, it’s important to add a few hours to each project and avoid waiting until the last minute to get started. It’s because when you have kids at home, you never know what each day will bring you. Though procrastinating works for some people in accomplishing tasks, it doesn’t usually work for parents.
10. Hire a Part-Time Nanny
If you’ve tried a lot of tricks but they just don’t work in balancing your work with your kids at home, then maybe it’s time that you hire someone to look after them for a few hours every day. You only need them for a few hours, to help you save money as well. College students or teens during the summer break may also be an affordable option for a nanny.
11. Take a Break
If your child is constantly interrupting you with your work or is desperately seeking for your attention, maybe it’s time that you take a break first and spend some time with him or her. You can take your child out for a walk, play catch, or watch a movie. Your child will be grateful that you had some bonding time and hopefully, he or she will stay out of your way when you get back to work.
12. Reward Yourself
It’s indeed tough to balance children and a full-fledged workload therefore, when you fulfill it, you can treat yourself to your favorite meal or a night out of town. No matter how busy you get and what strategies you use to be able to handle both your home job and your children, always remember to make time to pamper yourself. This will help you avoid feeling burnt out because of work overload.
There are indeed a lot of adjustments and sacrifices you have to make when you decide to work from home when you have your children around. You just always have to think positive each day and remember that as your children age, your work will eventually get easier.
The time you’ll spend working and looking after them at the same time will be a great memory you can look back to in the future. We hope the strategies we shared will help you lessen the stress and hassle of working from home with children.