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Working From Home With Kids

As noted yesterday, many people are working from home for the first time, but many more are facing working from home with their kids for the first time ever - and for the foreseeable future.

So how are you to possibly get anything done with clinging, whining, demanding (and sometimes distractingly cute) kiddos around?

Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash

Well first off, we are lucky enough to all be going through the same thing. No one will think poorly of you if kids pop up on your screen during a video conference or a sharp "DAAAADDDDDY!!!" is heard over the phone. We are all struggling with the same.

And, generally, most work has shifted to the "must do" only.

But we still need to be effective on those must-do items over the coming days or weeks so here are a few tips on how to best get work done with littles ones around:

1) Honestly, this media website wrote most of the post for me, ha! 

It works for multiple disciplines and has a very important feature - age differences

2) Discuss with your kids 

Older kids can generally be reasoned with, to some degree. They may not always remember them or follow them, but they can understand limits. So having discussions with your kids on what to expect is Step 1. You can't continue to tell them "Give mommy time to work" with no further information. Be specific. Tell them "Mommy needs an hour to do work so I am going to let you start this movie. After an hour, we will all go out and play". Just remember to honor what you tell them!

Photo by Marisa Howenstine on Unsplash

3) Loosen Up 

As the article above pointed out, this isn't' your full time gig, even if it lasts for several months (oh, God...). So allowing screen time, or excessive outdoor trampoline time or playing with toys you normally don't allow because they cause too big of a mess - now is the time to use them. It won't ruin your kids

4) Allow for Breaks

The article said this too but give yourself time with them and to enjoy time with them. That will make the work space in between easier for both of you

5) Take Shifts 

If you are lucky enough to be working from home with a partner, discuss each day in advance so you can agree to a few shift changes. Its likely you each have a few hours during the day you don't HAVE to work and can take over for the other parent. Also, you can switch off evening routines every other day. One night, you take everything from dinner to bedtime so your partner can work for a full 3 hours and then the next night you can switch.

6) For Really Young Kids... 

If you have an infant or toddler, explaining the day is impossible. And this age needs your help MUCH more.
Luckily, most kids this age also have naps. So use them to your full advantage and plan in advance what you are going to do during that time (cleaning the kitchen can wait!).
Also, if you have an older baby or toddler, you can try to work on free play time. Putting your kiddo in their room (or other safe space) and working on your laptop through email for a few mins between books or puzzles is smart.
For babies, like the article said, use naps to your advantage, take calls while driving in the car or walking with the stroller, and wear your baby as much as possible.

Photo by Tina Floersch on Unsplash

7) Schedule! 

Regardless of the age, being upfront with a schedule for each day is helpful. It allows your kids to know what to expect. If your kids currently have a schedule they follow at home or at school, try to stick to it as much as possible, with fun and "parent-work" time sprinkled in. Writing down for older kids when to expect play time and solo-play/parent work time will help them not feel so exhausted by the never-ending quarantine and the 20 mins without you that felt like 2 hours.
For younger kids, scheduling continues to allow them to expect certain things. If your daycare normally does "circle time" in the morning, set up the stuffed animals and let her watch a storytime video on YouTube while you try to get to your emails.
Its the not knowing what to expect and what to do that can lead to even more stress and conflict.

Do you have any other tips on whats working and what isn't during your time working from home? Share in the comments! 


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