It is a universal truth that to work from home with kids is challenging. It is also a fact that you do not need to stress out too much. You see, whenever a person experiences something new, he or she wants it to be perfect.
As a result, we pile up tasks for the day and try to do all at once. In theory, it is an ideal plan that we can stick to. In reality, it is possible to hold out like this probably for a week or less. After, we will feel dog-tired and anxious.
To avoid this horrible scenario, you need to set priorities straight, come up with a plan, use life hacks, and get used to the routine you create. The following tips will help you organize your day.
Work From Home With Kids:
Give your Employer a Heads Up
I bet you had seen the famous live interview of Professor Robert Kelly when two of his kids interrupted him. This cute little invasion only shows how indifferent children are to your work. But honestly, what can be more important than a little one who wants to sit in your lap?
Even the Apocalypse can wait until the episode of “Baby Shark” is over. Now that you understand your child’s attitude towards your work, you can create a plan for situations that might go wrong.
The best thing would be to give your employer a heads up. Tell the person you have an online meeting with that you have a baby at home and that a little one might come in.
I am sure that because of today’s situation, people will not hold it against you. We all do what we can, so do not stress yourself too much about it.
Get all the Help You Can Get
Because of quarantine, working from home with kids is now much more of an issue than it used to be. You are in luck if you have a partner or older children who can care for younger ones. However, what to do if there is no one there to help? There is one way!
The playdate will be of great help. There are tons of ideas for playdates online, so you will, most certainly, find something for your child. There are different activities grouped for children according to age. Kids dance, play, laugh, draw, communicate, etc.
Relatives and friends are also an option. Children can play games online with them, talk, and have fun. This way, a kid will be under a watchful eye of an adult while you are working, and a person on the other side of the screen will spend some time with a little family member. It is a win-win for both parties.
Encourage a Child to Play Alone
Children love active games, especially when they involve running around. I am sorry to inform you that scientists have not yet come up with the eternal source of energy.
It is something you can really use when playing with a child because a little one wants to play regularly. In order for you to have some free time and occupy your child, you need to encourage a kid to entertain itself.
Everything depends on the age of a child. For instance, newborns need your undivided attention all the time they are awake.
Therefore, stick to a routine. Use the time when a child is asleep or put a little one in a bouncy chair. Songs and videos can also occupy a child’s attention.
To work from home with kids that are smaller (let’s say toddlers) is slightly a different thing because they can be more demanding. It is hard, for they run around and explore every single thing. Because you cannot always keep an eye on them, try to sit a kid, and occupy a little on with a favorite show or game.
Also, you can install some educational apps for a child or arrange a play date. The third option is a busy bag. It is a bag created, especially for toddlers, to keep them occupied. They can capture a child’s attention for quite some time, so be sure to get one for your kid.
Older children are more capable of finding themselves in some activities. In most cases, they play videogames. It is okay to play for an hour, but not the whole day (do not forget about screen time limits).
Therefore, encourage children to read and write stories, draw or do some other creative work. Look for educational platforms and apps, shows, and movies.
Make sure that a child socializes online because communication with friends is vital for them. One of the means is Minecraft or other online games.
It is easier said than done, but it is your only chance to get things in order and be productive. You know your child’s routine, so make sure to use the hours when a kid is asleep or plays.
If you have a partner, you most certainly need to figure this out together. If both of you are working from home, then take shifts. One parent can do in the morning for a few hours without interruptions, while the other is looking after a child.
After, it is your turn to watch a kid while your partner works (same amount of time). In the evening, when a little one is asleep, you can finish up your work and some household chores. Here teamwork is what can help you.
If you are a single parent or your partner is not there to help you, you need a better plan. You must let your employer know your situation. A flexible schedule is what you need.
Therefore, make sure to talk this through with your employer. Besides, a child needs you even more than your work does, so plan your day and work in a way that you could pay enough attention to both family and job.
Remember to talk to a child about your work and explain the situation in a way that a little one could understand it. Although you think that kids are too small to understand, you may be wrong. Talking to a little one is better than demanding privacy from a child without any explanations.
Have a family meeting to explain to the kids what the work is and why you need it. Establish boundaries and basic rules that a child has to follow. Explain that when the door is closed, a little one must knock before coming in.
When there is a “Do not disturb” sign, it means that a child cannot knock. Instead, a little one can slide a note or text you (if a kid can, of course). Understandably, there are different situations, and in case of an emergence, a child can knock whenever it needs you (explain in what circumstances it is possible).
If you have an opportunity, you can show a child what your “work” is. A kid will be interested in seeing this, and maybe it will better understand why you are asking for privacy.
Tell a little one that you will come out as soon as you are done with work. You will be checking on kids from time to time, but the whole time you are working, they will need to entertain themselves on their own.
Praise a Child
Communicate with a kid and try establishing a dialogue. In the future, it will be easier to create and understanding relationship, so start laying the foundation now.
If you have a meeting, tell a child (namely younger kids) that you will have a meeting and that a kid should not interrupt you. Help a child start a game, draw or start a puzzle to occupy a little one and let them know that you will come and check on them later.
In case a child interrupts you, stay calm and continue your work. After, you need to have a conversation with a kid and explain the situation one more time.
Emphasize that they can help you by not interrupting your working process. After one or two times, a child will understand.
If a little one did exactly as you said, praise him or her. Show your gratitude, give many thanks, and reward them by spending some extra time with them. You can play or read a book together.
Older kids will genuinely appreciate more screen time rather than “thank you.” However, please pay attention to the games children are playing and the videos they are watching. Violent content has a rather negative effect on a child, making a kid more frustrated and anxious.
What can be better than leave your work for a minute or two? Not working at all, maybe, but this is not something you’d want.
It is great if children have online lessons at school because they will spend some time studying. Unfortunately, the school does not last 10 hours. Therefore, you will need to find another way to look after children.
First of all, you can schedule your work so that you will have an opportunity to make tiny breaks to check on children. If you work for 4 hours, you can take a 10-minute break every 30-50 minutes.
During this time, give attention to the baby. Play, dance, and talk a little bit. It may not be much, but children will appreciate the effort.
List of Activities
I am the type of person who gets inspired in the evening. My head is filled with ideas, and I have to write them down into a long list.
You can also create a list of activities that a child is willing to do. These can be different games, projects, etc. Write down the ideas into the list and write down each activity’s numbers on a separate sheet of paper.
After, put them into the bowl or a box and let fate determine your child’s next game or activity. Establish some rules so as to be sure that a child will proceed with activity no matter what.
Digital and Non-digital Time
The circumstances have made our stay at home and get used to the difficulties and challenges that come with them. Working from home with kids is one of the challenges because there are many things you have to consider. Digital time is one of these things.
Usually, you would set limits to video games and screen time. Not only would you limit them, but you would also limit yourself, for there are more important errands that you need to run as a parent and as an adult in general. Unfortunately, because of the worldwide situation going on, you need to extend limits.
With the extension of screen time for both you and children, you need to pay more attention to mental health. Take breaks while working and talk to children and other family members. Stress from work, news, and staying at home 24/7 add up and make you feel anxious and helpless.
Therefore, make sure to have a family meeting. Talk about your feelings and emotional state, ask children about their feelings and thoughts. Sharing helps to get through difficult times and create a strong bond between people.
Working and Playing space
Explain the concept of privacy to children and teach them to respect it. The best way to do this is to show how it works yourself.
Very often, there is no place you can be alone. To be productive at work, you need a quiet and comfortable place.
At home, any place with a wifi connection is good, even the basement. Therefore, create a working space where you would feel comfortable. Don’t forget to set boundaries!
Same with playing space. Children need to have a place where they can get all creative, messy, and even loud. Help children arrange their “corner” the way they want, decorate it, and put toys in a particular order.
Create for a kid “Do not disturb” sign. So each time you will be going into your “office,” a child will be going into its “office.” Fair and square.
Expectations vs. Reality
You are familiar with this, often drastic, difference. As we already know, children have their understanding of work and its importance to parents.
You might create a flawless schedule with perfectly divided working hours and breaks. Unfortunately, there is nothing more unexpected than life itself, so not everything will go according to a plan.
In order to reduce stress, you need to be honest with yourself. Face the fact that you will not be able to do everything that you have planned. Face the fact that you will not be able to create a perfect studying environment for children.
Kids, mostly small, need constant supervision to understand the material. It would help if you faced the fact that things can change in the blink of an eye.
As soon as you realize this, you will feel relieved and less anxious. Do not raise the bar too high, because one day you might not reach it.
Plan Things Hour-by-hour
Although we know that it will not work as we would want it to, we need a plan. A habit needs 21 days to establish and become something that we do automatically. The same is with the routine.
Although you might not be able to follow it entirely, you can still manage to follow it at least a bit. You might need some time to tap into it, so try organizing things and follow the schedule as much as you can. It’ll help you become organized in a way and structure your day.
Set Priorities Straight
Children might need your help with homework, therefore, it may come first and work – second. There is no doubt that your work is essential, and it needs to be done, but it will never thank you.
Children will, though. A kid needs attention and help. For this reason, make sure to carve some time to a child and help a little one.
Remember to pay attention to a child’s mental health. Kids have specific periods in life when their mental health is unstable. They need your help, although they might not admit it. Therefore, be there for your children and comfort them whenever they need it.
Work and home are two worlds that have a hard time coexisting. Both of them need your undivided attention, and both of them are important.
Quarantine has turned the whole process of working from home with kids into a daily challenge. However, with a positive approach, thorough planning, and the tips above, you will be able to put things in order.
Life is like winding roads. You never know what awaits you after each turn. It looks scary from above until the moment you hit the road.
With the smooth movements, you steer a car to the right and the left. Life is the same. Things might look scary and challenging, but as soon as you start dealing with them step-by-step, they seem more manageable.
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