Juggling your job from home along with taking care of your kids all day is no easy task.
It’s essentially like trying to manage two full-time jobs at the same time. And one of those jobs requires dealing with extremely bossy and needy people throughout the entire day. Or possibly both jobs, if your coworkers are as needy as your kids can be. ;)
All jokes aside, we are truly living in an unprecedented time. Many businesses have needed to shut down indefinitely. Millions have lost their jobs, and even more are now required to work from home.
But how do you successfully work from home when you have bored kids to entertain? How do you attend your video or phone meetings without being interrupted constantly? How do you make sure your kids are getting their schoolwork done while staying productive yourself? Check out the tips below for a few helpful pieces of advice.
Go Easy on Yourself
First and foremost: Go easy on yourself.
This entire situation is unprecedented. And frankly, at times it is scary and anxiety-inducing as well. Then, add in needing to figure out how to work from home on top of taking care of/homeschooling your kids as well? It’s a very difficult and exhausting situation to be in.
One of the most important things that you can do is to understand that it isn’t going to be easy, but you can get through this. Setting reasonable expectations and not putting too much on your plate is key.
So, take that to-do list you’ve written for the day and cut it in half. Take the high expectations you’ve set for yourself and lower them substantially. Take everything day-by-day and keep in mind that while all of this is difficult, it’s temporary. Things will get back to normal eventually.
Create a Schedule
Keeping even a basic schedule can help both you and your kids tremendously. Now, this doesn’t mean that every hour needs to be scheduled out, but having a basic plan for what to do each day can help everyone to be a bit more productive.
Plus, since kids are used to having a schedule during the school day, it can be very helpful for them to maintain some sort of normalcy with a rough schedule. Now, this schedule will certainly vary depending on the ages of your kids. For school-age children up to teenagers, set aside a few hours dedicated to schoolwork and be sure to incorporate time for lunch and breaks. Younger kids may appreciate a schedule that is drawn out and put on the fridge that essentially encompasses meals, clean up times, naps, playtime, and more.
You can also try to adjust the schedule according to what tasks you need to accomplish during the day. For example, if you have a conference call at noon, you may want to consider having your kids take a nap, watch a movie, or play in the backyard during that time.
Getting into a routine that works for your family will take some trial and error. Your family may do best with more structure, or you may find that flexibility works best. Try out a few different options and don’t be afraid to mix things up if need be. Eventually, you’ll find what works best for keeping your family productive and happy.
If there is another parent at home, try trading off responsibilities. While one parent entertains the kids for a couple of hours, the other can spend that time getting some work done. Then you can switch.
This can be easier said than done, but with some adjustments here and there, you’ll find a system that works.
Being isolated away from family and friends can be difficult for everyone. Kids that are used to seeing their friends and teachers each school day may struggle if they are no longer in contact with them. This can lead to grouchy or anxious kiddos, which will only make it harder for you to stay productive.
Setting up video calls or phone calls with friends and family is a great way to stay social. Plus, this social time may even double as virtual babysitting!
Reach out to grandma or another family member or friend and arrange for your kids to spend some time talking, reading, or playing games with them over the phone or through a video call. This may buy you a decent amount of time where you can get work done in peace.
You should also consider calling or video-conferencing your coworkers/boss occasionally to stay in better contact. Relying solely on emails can make it harder to understand expectations and you may start to disconnect from your team. Even a simple phone call once a week to check up on everyone’s progress and set realistic goals can go a long way.
Staying at home may mean a sharp decrease in physical activity for many. But this lack of exercise will only make everyone feel more cooped up and grouchy. It’s important to still get moving each day, even for small blocks of time.
If possible, get outside and enjoy the fresh air on a family walk each day. Or go for a hike in the mountains, or kick a soccer ball around at an empty field. As long as you’re only participating in the activity with the members in your household, and you’re staying away from all others, you can still get outside and enjoy your favorite activities.
If you can’t make it outside, help your kids get active inside the home. Whether that’s by hosting an impromptu dance party, attempting a video workout class together, or even playing with hula hoops, try to get some movement in.
Letting your kids get their energy out will make a huge impact on your own productivity as they’re less likely to bug you when you’re getting your work done. And everyone will likely be in better spirits after getting some fresh air and/or moving around.
Plus, by getting in some exercise yourself, you’re much more likely to stay focused for longer when you’re getting work done. It’s a win-win!
Have Designated Workspaces
If possible, find a workspace for yourself where the door can be shut. Setting a physical boundary may help reinforce to your kids that you need uninterrupted time to work.
You can also set aside a space for your kids where they complete their schooling. Having a quiet area stocked with the supplies they need can help them to be more productive as well.
It’s very important to be upfront about all expectations at work. Make sure you communicate with your employer and let them know that you have kids at home with you. This way they can understand that your workday may not be as productive as it was when you were working in the office. You can then work together to set realistic goals and even make schedule changes if necessary.
Also, set expectations with your kids as well. Explain to them that while it seems like this is just a prolonged spring break, everyone still has tasks to complete. You need to get your work done, and they need to get their schoolwork done as well.
Are you working from home with kiddos? What are some of your best tips for staying sane and productive?
And as always, feel free to reach out to Scott or Natalie anytime at 435-901-4309/801-244-2367.