Working from home with kids can seem like something that is impossible and totally unachievable. This can be especially difficult if you have really young children that aren’t in any formal schooling or care yet. But with a few simple tips, you can turn your working from home with kids nightmare into a successful reality. Here are our top 7 tips for working from home with kids.
1. Have a dedicated home office space
Create a dedicated home office area. Make it a space that entices you to ‘go to work’ each morning. Simply setting up on the dining table and winging it during the day is just not going to cut it. You need a space in which you can focus on what you need to do without thinking about what else needs doing around the house or worrying about having to pack it all up and put it away. If you can’t have a completely separate room, find a cosy nook somewhere and claim it for your office.
2. Schedule everything
Having a schedule will help you to map out what needs to be done each day or week and give you a tangible goal to focus on. Using calendar apps like Cozi or Google Calendar can make this so much easier than trying to remember what needs doing or using a whiteboard/chalkboard.
3. Be flexible
It’s great to have a schedule to try and stick to, but remember to be flexible. One of the major benefits of working from home is that you can be as flexible as you need to be. If your kids need to get out of the house, you can pop down to the park, let them have a play and then head home and crack on with some work while they rest. If you don’t get everything done exactly when you thought you would, don’t beat yourself up.
4. Be realistic
You might think you’ll be able to achieve all your goals each day, but don’t forget to be realistic. There will be days when you aren’t feeling up to the mountain of work you have, so look at what you can realistically get done, and reschedule the rest. Your kids are going to get sick, they’re going to have play dates, they will regularly need your attention – be realistic on those days where you just aren’t able to finish everything you wanted to do.
5. Let your kids ‘help’
Children love helping out and may well want to try and help you in your office. Instead of shooing them away and sticking the TV on, you could make them feel included and give them some ‘work’ to do. Kids love stationery, so give them some pens, highlighters, post its and a notebook and let them go wild. It will keep them occupied while you get some work done, and they’ll love the fact that they’re helping you!
6. Don’t skip lunch
Just because you’re working at home, doesn’t mean you should work all the way through the day without a break. Take regular short breaks, away from your screen if you are on a computer for much of the day, and don’t forget to stop for lunch. It will give you time to regroup, have something to eat and help you focus on the tasks ahead. It’s also a chance to spend some quality time with your children during your working day.
7. Get some help
If you really don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere with your work, you should consider getting some help. This could be your parents helping out a few hours a week to watch the kids while you work or getting some help with the housework which would free up some time for you to concentrate on work. If you need a more permanent arrangement, you could look at daycare for your children who aren’t school age, or hire an au pair that can work out more affordable than other forms of childcare.
Do you work from home? What are your top tips for working from home with young children?