Are you working from home with kids around? Working from home is a dream for many parents, but the reality can be much different, especially when it is thrust upon you with little notice. Working from home with kids around requires a little planning, patience, and flexibility. Your schedule may change at a moment’s notice and there will be days when you can’t be as productive as you’d like.
Working From Home With Kids
To set yourself up for success, there are a few things you can do to ensure a productive work environment.
Be Willing to be Flexible
You may not be able to work a standard 9-5 schedule if you’re at home with kids around. Be flexible and adjust your schedule (If your job permits this). Get up earlier and work a few hours in the morning, then put in a few more hours between lunch and dinner, and work an extra hour or two in the evening. Being flexible allows you to spend time with your kids throughout the day as well as work.
Communicate Your Needs
If your spouse is also at home, communicate what you need from each other as far as quiet time and distractions. Figure out how you can work together to give you the quality quiet time you need. Then discuss this with your kids so they know the rules about when it’s okay to interrupt and when it’s not. Even small children can learn to be respectful of work time.
If your spouse isn’t home to help care for your kids, hire help when it is possible. Bringing someone in, even for just a few hours a day, to keep your kids distracted and cared for while you work can help you increase your productivity.
Have a Dedicated Space
With a dedicated home office where you can close the door, you can help your kids set boundaries. They’ll know that when mommy or daddy is in the office with the door closed, it’s work time and they shouldn’t disturb you. It can also help to signal them to keep the noise level down. If you have a make-shift office, find something visual that will signal to your children that you should not be disturbed. It can be a certain piece of clothing or jacket you put on, certain music you play or a stuffed animal you sit in the chair beside you. Whatever you decide as a signal can work.
According to MoneyChat, “Having a dedicated workspace can also help reduce distractions, like social media.” The more focused you are the more work you will accomplish.
Create a Boredom Box
Put together a box with craft supplies, books, parent-approved movies, and toys that they can use on their own if they’re bored. You can also create a list of parent-approved activities to hang on the fridge and include things they can do on their own if they’re bored. Making sure your kids have plenty to keep them busy will allow you to be less distracted. You can also include age-appropriate chores or homework. When you work, they do their work.
Create a Healthy Snack Box
As parents, we’ve all heard the cries of “I’m hungry! There’s nothing to eat!” To your kids, this is an emergency worth interrupting you for. Steer clear of this distraction by creating snack stations in the pantry and fridge with plenty of things they can eat on their own. Crackers, pretzels, yogurt, fruit, cheese, juice boxes, and other healthy snacks will give your kids more independence while giving you peace and quiet.
Practice with your kids before you start working from home or when you set up new rules to help them learn and understand when it’s okay to interrupt you and when it’s not. Give them a signal that tells them to stop or be quiet if they’re interrupting at a bad time. For instance, putting your hand up to tell them to stop or your finger over your lips to tell them to be quiet.
Working from home with kids around can create a lot of challenges to your productivity, but if you work with your kids and you’re willing to be flexible, you should be able to be successful. Who knows, you may decide you enjoy working from home and opt to make it a permanent work environment.
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