Working from Home for Working Parents
Some parents who work in an office all day think working from home is a dream, especially when they’re struggling to balance work responsibilities and parent responsibilities. But the truth is, working from home with the kids is way harder than it seems. With the constant distraction, it’s tough to get all your tasks done. Don’t get us wrong, working parents are known for their extreme multi-tasking, but when is it too many tasks? If daycare has been out ruled, here are some tips to help you work from home with those little rascals:
- Create a Schedule. If you think you can get most of your responsibilities done in the early morning when your kids are eating breakfast, during their naptime, or late at night when they are all in bed, let your coworkers know that these are the times you’ll be online. It’s likely your work hours will not be the traditional eight hours. Look for spontaneous work moments. If your child is occupied for a short moment like watching an episode of Paw Patrol, get some work done that you can easily put a pause to in case they need your undivided attention again, like answering emails.
- Make sure the children 100% know that you are working. Have a talk with them, let them know the situation, and tell them there needs to be minimal disruptions throughout the day. Let them know they are part of the “team” as well and their job is to make sure you stay busy all day.
- Give your children incentives. Tell them if they’re good until lunchtime, you’ll take them to the park or out for some pizza. You can also give them task incentives. These could be “if you don’t disrupt mommy on this work call, I’ll give you a popsicle.” Then, that popsicle should keep them quiet for a little while longer *winky face*.
- Have boundaries. If you have a job that requires your undivided attention for long periods of time, create a home office. Let your kids know that when you’re in your “work space” you are not to be disrupted. Not only is your attention on your work, but you also won’t feel that pull to your children.
- To-Do lists save lives! Okay, not really. But they do help immensely. When you’re doing your work, give your kids a list of fun educational activities to do and if they finish that, give them a to-do list that involve chores (But don’t write “chores” on it or they won’t want to do it!) Some of these jobs could be to clean the playroom or set the table for dinner. This will keep them occupied for a little while.
- Entertainment is key. If toys and TV just aren’t cutting it, create a “boredom bowl”. In the “boredom bowl”, have fun little things they can do. Some examples are: build a Lego tower as high as you can or draw a self portrait of the family. As they get older, you can tie in some of your work responsibilities into the “boredom bowl”, such as filing.
- Ask for help. If you are knee deep in work, can’t seem to get anything done, and you’ve run out of options, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Sometimes it’s necessary to ask a friend, relative, or hire a nanny to get in a couple uninterrupted hours of work done.
Being a parent isn’t easy, especially while you’re working. Equip yourself with the right tools and mindset to succeed and be sure to keep open lines of communication with your employer.