Although many people have been working from home for decades, the COVID-19 pandemic has made working from home more popular than ever. For many people, working from home is much more convenient than working outside of the home. However, it can be more stressful for others, especially parents of young children who aren’t in school, or those whose kids are out of school for a break. Here are some ways to make it easier for both you and your kids.
In This Article
Create a Schedule for Both You and Your Kids
Kids of all ages (and adults too) function better when they have a set schedule that they can follow. Of course, adults are better able to handle changes, but children— especially young children— need a set routine for familiarity. Creating a sound schedule that you and your kids can both follow will make everyone’s day less stressful.
Having a set schedule not only allows you to get your work done but also lets your kids know what to expect each day. They’ll be able to learn when you’re working when it’s time for snacks, and when your work is done. Being consistent with this every day gives them structure.
Also, be smart with your scheduling. If you can, work around your kids’ normal schedules. For example, if you have kids at the napping age, schedule important meetings and other work that needs your undivided attention during their nap time to avoid distractions.
Finally, don’t forget to carve out some time to spend with each other. Take a walk around the neighborhood or play in your backyard for a little while. Some time outdoors is good for both you and your kids when you’re cooped up in the house all day. This can be like a “recess” for your kids, and a mental health break for yourself.
Start the Day off Right
Even though you and your kids are going to spend the day at home, it’s still important to get up and act as if you were going out. Showering and getting dressed can help you feel more motivated and beauty hacks can save time while still allowing you to feel your best. Remember that it’s still important to take care of yourself as well.
Starting off the day as if you were leaving the house is also a great transition cue for children. When kids know what’s going to happen next, they’re less likely to have a meltdown— and this can help everyone’s day run smoother.
Designate Areas of Work and Areas of Play
This will be extremely important, especially if you have kids of different ages— and even more so if your school-aged children are attending school online. Both you and your kids should have a “work” area, even if it’s just the kitchen table. If you’re able to dedicate a full room to work, that’s even better.
For younger children, you should try and create a designated area for play. Young children do their best learning through play, so playtime for them is very important. A play couch for kids can double as both a toy and a piece of furniture. You know what can occupy your child the best, so choose activities that they love doing, and limit their screen time.
Have Patience with Your Child and Yourself
This arrangement may not work out perfectly the first few times around, and even if it does, some days may be more stressful than others. However, the key to success is staying consistent. It’s okay to change a few things if you find something that works better, but keep in mind that too many changes in a short period of time can upset young children and cause them to become more irritable.
Overall, you know your child(ren) best, and you’ll have a good idea of how they’ll react to certain situations and what will work best for them. So you may not even have to make too many changes before you find a system that works for everyone. Again, when you find that system, stay consistent in order to see the most success.
Also, talk to your employer and let them know that you also have your kids home with you. Many employers are parents too, so they’re pretty understanding when it comes to working from home with kids. The same goes for your coworkers— they’re probably parents too. When your job is patient with you and you are patient with your kids, everyone is less stressed and able to have a smooth workday.