Working from home seems like a dream come true until you realize you know how to balance your work and personal life at the same time. Things just get more complicated if you have children that demand constant attention at home. This doesn’t mean you can’t be productive and a good parent at the same time, though. It just means that you’ll have to rise to the challenge.
Being the perfect employee and parent is definitely going to be tough, but thankfully, there are sure-fire ways you can nail this challenge. With these tips, you’ll be able to fulfill your responsibilities and still keep your sanity. Isn’t that the dream of any busy person in today’s world?
1. CREATE A SCHEDULE TOGETHER
Having a schedule and routine is important for both you and your kids. It helps keep you grounded and doesn’t leave anything up to chance. Kids respond very well to routine because they don’t know how to effectively deal with uncertainty yet.
So, it’s always a good idea to sit down with your kids and come up with a daily plan together. Figure out what works for them and you and write it all down. Once you’re done figuring out the logistics of the schedule, focus on the design.
You’ll need a stronger and bigger piece of paper, crayons, markers, and a ruler. Divide the paper into slots for every day of the week, then pencil in what’s going to be done when. Hang it up in a visible place, like the door or the living room wall. This will help everyone keep to the schedule, and your kids will always know what comes next. Meanwhile, you’ll get more time to work because they won’t need you as much- they’ll just turn to the schedule and get on with their day.
2. GET AN EXTRA PAIR OF HANDS TO HELP YOU
If you’re the sole carer for your kids or your partner simply still has to work in the office, you might benefit from an extra pair of hands around the house. That way, the person can give the kids what they need while you focus on being productive and meeting your deadlines.
Babysitters are a great option, but they can also tend to get expensive. They’re usually full of experience and know-how to treat your kids. If your little ones click with the sitter, they’ll have an even easier time behaving, and fun is guaranteed. However, a babysitter simply isn’t in the budget for most families, especially those with multiple children.
In this case, you should consider inviting a family member over to help. Whether it’s your cousin, parent, or sibling, if they have free time and love kids, they’ll probably be willing to help out. Don’t take their help for granted, though. Even if you aren’t paying them, you should think of a way to compensate them for their time helping you out. You could get them a nice present to show them you appreciate them, pay for gas if they have to drive to and from your house or provide meals for them. This is a fair trade for both parties.
3. KEEP THEM BUSY
The best way to have some time to yourself and get work done is to keep your kids busy. Give them a project they can work on by themselves for the whole day, and you’ll get to use that time for work. There are plenty of kid DIY projects they can get involved with that challenge their intelligence and exercise their creativity. If you don’t feel like or can’t get materials for the projects, work with what you have at home.
One of the best things you can do is let your kids convert the living room or bedroom into a massive fort. Give them all the pillows and blankets in the house and let them go to town. It will take them a while to figure out how to keep the fort standing, and they’ll get to exercise their motor and logic skills all day. If they start getting frustrated, you can step in and give them some guidance, but this should really be a thing they do entirely on their own.
Once the fort is done, they’ll be able to hide and play in it for the remainder of the day. Give them a tablet or laptop, download some cartoons and Disney movies, and let them watch the magic on the screen inside the fort. If you’ve ever seen a movie in a pillow fort, you know exactly how awesome the experience is.
You can even get some music and fairy lights and let them create their own party inside. The best part is that the fort can stay up as long as you like. In other words, there’s nothing stopping you from joining your kids inside once you get your work done. They’re bound to love every minute of it.
4. CREATE PHYSICAL BOUNDARIES
You’ll need to create a physical boundary between the rest of the home and your office space. If you don’t have a home office, use another room to work in. If your kids spend most of their time in the living room, use the bedroom as your office. This will help them keep their distance and allow you to focus on work. If they need something, they’ll know where to find you, but they won’t come to you for every little thing because they’ll be able to respect the distance more easily.
If you don’t have a choice but to work in the same room as your kids, you should create a zone in the room that’s just for your office. For instance, you can add plants and other pieces of decor to fence off your desk. Even though your kids will see you, they’ll still feel the distance you’re trying to create.
This is also a better option for parents who have small kids. That’s because you’ll be able to keep an eye on them while still getting work done. In this case, though, try not to react to every little thing your kids do because you simply won’t be able to get any work done. It’s enough just being there to supervise.
5. HAVE A BACKUP ENERGY PLAN
The most important issue you’ll need to deal with in this arrangement is your energy. Even though you want to be a super parent and employee, chances are you’ll be running low on energy to fill both roles perfectly. After all, your work and your kids will demand high levels of focus and agility (both mental and physical). This is why you need to make sure you have enough energy during the day.
Since you can’t really take naps due to lack of time, you should have a quick alternative that will rejuvenate your mind and keep you on your toes. Coffee is the drink you need. Start your day with a fresh cup of coffee and have one again in the afternoon when you feel your energy waning.
The trick is not to over-caffeinate yourself because this will just make you anxious and jittery instead of focused and productive. To achieve the desirable effects, you’ll need to get the best coffee pods on the market. High-quality coffee will give you only the benefits of caffeine because it’s purer and healthier. The effects will also last longer, and you won’t need more than two or three caps per day.
Remember, staying healthy is just as important as staying productive. Splurging on a coffee machine and quality pods may seem frivolous, but it will save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run. Any investment that keeps you healthy but also alert and focused is a good one.
6. TALK TO YOUR KIDS
People tend to underestimate how smart kids are and how much they can understand. If you want to get work done, sometimes it’s enough to just talk to your kids and explain the whole situation to them. They won’t understand why you can’t spend time with them if you’re home unless you sit them down and tell them in words they will understand.
Aside from just explaining that your office is on your computer now, you should set clear boundaries and expectations. That will help your kids navigate the new situation effectively and adjust to it accordingly. So, for example, you can tell them that you’ll spend breakfast and watch morning cartoons together, but that then you have to work until lunch.
Come up with rules they should follow during your working hours, too. Don’t make this sound like you’re forcing them to be quiet or taking away their freedom. Instead, act like they’ll be doing you a favor. No matter how naughty and stubborn kids can be, they just really want to be adults and help their parents. So, tell them exactly how they can help. Instill a sense of heroism and responsibility in them to motivate them to stick to the rules and maybe even get some work done. Reward their enthusiasm and obedience with affection and quality time, not things. Rewarding good behavior is a sure way to see more of it.
Depending on the age of your kids, you might have to repeat the rules and expectations more than once. Remember to have a lot of patience and don’t get aggravated regardless of how many times you have to repeat things. After all, they’re just kids.
As you can see, it’s entirely possible to work from home, stay productive, and still spend quality time with your kids. Even though it’s going to be hard to get used to the new work environment, with a lot of patience, good tactics, and some determination- you can do it all. We’re confident you’ll rise to the challenge and meet all deadlines without neglecting your kids for one second. Remember to keep your head in the game but also to blow off some steam when you start feeling overwhelmed. Soon enough, you’ll find the right balance and have the best of both worlds.