Tips to Survive Working at Home With Kids
Get Started Early!
Love that feeling of crossing something off of your to-do list? There’s nothing more motivating than to see those strikethroughs on the day’s tasks. Depending on your kid’s schedules, getting a project started early on can help you keep up the momentum during the day while working with kids at home. I like to pour a cup of coffee and dive into a task on my to-do list before the house is buzzing. Then I’m able to take a break to make breakfast and get the rest of the house started on their day… and I don’t fall into a sluggish morning fog or feel like I’m falling behind when taking care of everyone else.
Whatever wake time makes you feel your best is fine, just have a “hard-start” time to your workday… just like you would when headed into work.
Don’t Skip Your Morning Joe
Speaking of coffee, if you’re used to stopping by your favorite coffee shop on the way to the office, you don’t have to totally miss out (and I don’t recommend it while working with kids home). Bring your favorite drink with you to your at-home office. Pinterest is rife with a plethora of the best copy-cat recipes and you can find ideas for any drink you like!In fact, keep all of your morning java supplies together to streamline the process and makes it easier for you to make it happen. We love our Nespresso machine and it never fails to give us the perfect shot of espresso for my specialty drinks, or a smooth flavored cup of coffee. Another thing I can’t live without? Our Breville® The Milk Cafe frother. It helps me get that perfectly frothed cup every time… and my kids love a good hot chocolate with it for an afternoon treat too! Making sure you get your usual caffeine fix is essential to maintaining your usual equilibrium while working with kids at home.
Make it Hard on Yourself to Fall Down the Social Media Rabbit HoleAs it is we live in the age of distractions. We have multiple social media streams, emails, Netflix, and now add in extreme stress, Slack, Zoom, and working with kids at home.
There is no wonder people are having a challenging time.My first recommendation is to NOT go on social media first thing when you get up in the morning. This can be all it takes to pull you in and lose your momentum. It can even make you “late for work.” Log out of accounts or turn off all notifications. Even better turn off your web browser if you can. Implement time blocking for your social media, email checking, and video watching. We will talk about this in more detail in a bit.
Choose a Dedicated Work SpaceYou might be finding yourself new to the work-from-home lifestyle (especially working with kids at home) or just haven’t found the right dedicated space yet, but pick a spot and clear it off. Declutter. Gather your supplies. Being prepared helps immensely. For me, though I’ve been working from home for quite some time, my workspace is still our dining room table! AND we still have family dinner at the dining table every night. How do we make it happen?
Find creative storage solutions to pack away the work day.The easiest way is to grab a stylish and functional basket (you’ll need something sturdy, but I wanted it purdy too) to drop all of your work essentials at the end of the day, yes, even your laptop, and stash it to the side so that you can reclaim your shared family space for just that… family. We love these round baskets with handles from Bed Bath & Beyond for keeping office goods when the workday is done. I also have a second of these baskets that I stash away everyone’s electronics for the day as well.
Now that the kids are all home for school, we’ve got more materials and supplies spread across the table during the day and the need for even more storage at the end of the school day. We’ve always enjoyed having a bench for the kids to sit at alongside our DIY farmhouse table, but now we’ve added this Laredo Storage Bench so that once our kiddos are done with school books and pencil boxes, they can drop all of their goods in their bench and it’s out of the way for the rest of the night!
Plan Meals With Kids at Home
It might sound strange to include this as a tip for working from home, but think about it… when you go to the office, do you have a pantry and refrigerator full of food to graze on all day long? It can be easy to skip meals, or on the contrary never stop eating, when you’re in a work from home situation. And this is even more important when you’re working with kids at home with you as well. They thrive on structure and a timeline (and it’s a great way to help them learn to read time as well!), so having a set breakfast, snack and lunchtime is beneficial for more productive work times and getting in essential break times, too.
Time Block Your Work at Home ScheduleSchedule. Schedule. Schedule. If you want to be able to have scheduled time to work you have to have a schedule for your children—and keep to it. You will want a known flow of the day. Start with a solid wakeup time, breakfast, schoolwork-time, snack, more schoolwork-time, outdoor play, lunch, and more schoolwork time.
Follow up with an afternoon snack and more outdoor play. I like to make lunch while they are outdoors for their morning break. This makes it a lot less stressful.I use the time when they are engaged outdoors, on digital learning platforms, or having screen time to work. If you are lucky enough to have a spouse, partner, or grandparent in your home plan for blocks of time that one adult is responsible for managing the children and rotate. This could be anywhere from a 30 minute block up to a 4-hour block. But sharing the responsibility relieves the burden and stress. And if all else false use your flextime. Work in the evening while children are watching a movie, having silent reading time, or have gone to bed. The key factor is to have a plan.