Working from home with kids might seem impossible, but there are actually lots of ways to work from home with kids.
One of the unique challenges remote workers face is that they might have kids at home the same time they need to be “at work” while at home. Don’t feel bad if you need advice working from home with kids. It can be challenging! Children need attention and care during the day and often can’t entertain themselves for 8 hours straight. Not only that, if you have very young children, they might even need constant care.
How to Work from Home with Kids
The key to working from home with kids is to always communicate expectations and plans to everyone in the house and whoever else you might work with remotely. Clear communication and daily planning will help you be more productive working from home, and give you the confidence to manage your children while finding success with your job at home.
If you’re working from home with kids then you’ll want to communicate expectations with everyone involved. This means you’ll want to communicate expectations with your clients, your boss, your partner, and even your kids. Sit down with each of these involved parties and have a clear discussion about what is expected of everyone.
Don’t just talk to everyone once either. Keep an open, ongoing chat with your kids and your coworkers going on all the time. This is especially important because expectations and needs might change and ways to work from home with kids might need to be reevaluated.
Don’t forget to talk to your kids about your work. Let them know your schedule, place your schedule somewhere they can see it, and include them in your daily schedule so they know what’s expected of them, and what they can expect from you each day.
Here are some things you’ll want to talk about: how the kids affect or don’t affect your work, how flexible are your deadlines, how flexible are your work hours, when are you most available to your kids and to your work, and when do you need to be unavailable to either of those parties.
Take a look at all the resources you have for working from home with children. Some resources you might have are neighbors, colleagues, local daycares, nannies, babysitters, friends, family, or activities. Your resources involve anything that can help make your work from home easier.
You might even be able to set up an equal exchange with someone. Maybe someone else has to work with kids too and you can take shifts working and watching each other’s children.
Activities that work well keeping your kids distracted and entertained can be a remote working parent’s greatest resource. Gather an arsenal of activities that your kids can do on their own while you’re working. This can be anything like naps, watching shows and movies, listening to music, playing educational games, books, puzzles, coloring, and fun, educational workbooks.
Make an Office Space for the Kids
Set up a fun office space for your kids! Make your kids their own office space so they can feel like they’re working with you. We set up play kitchen sets for our kids, so why not create a play office space? You might be surprised how long they can entertain themselves pretending to be hard at work like you are.
Get them a fake telephone, a calendar, a whiteboard or chalkboard, some educational and fun workbooks for them to work on, and coloring books. This is also a great way to work from home with kids because you can set up their office space near your office space so you can easily keep an eye on your kids while you work.
A dedicated craft station can also be a great thing to set up for your little ones to keep busy and productive all while having fun. Give them a craft they can do by themselves too, so you don’t have to monitor them too much.
You can even find crafting kits specifically designed for kids that you can buy online. Then you don’t have to watch over your kids as they use scissors or anything.
Have Them Write a Story
Something that can take some time and take up all your kid’s focus is to have them write an original story. Even if your child is too little to write, they can create a comic story with lots of pictures to illustrate the story. Otherwise, give your kid a writing prompt so they can practice all kinds of important writing and creative skills.
Make a Work Schedule with your Kids
One of the biggest struggles a parent might have working from home with kids is keeping a schedule. It’s hard to keep kids on a schedule and there are bound to be hang-ups and unexpected hiccups. But regardless, keeping a schedule with kids is paramount to successfully working from home with kids.
Work in smaller shifts throughout the day or take longer breaks btw work periods to give some undivided attention and care to your kids as you are needed for things like bath time, a walk outside, and fixing up lunch, breakfast, or dinner.
Make a Rewards System
Set up a rewards system for your kids for when they’re good and able to entertain themselves, not bother you, not cry, or not fight amongst themselves. Whatever your kids struggle with the most, create a rewards system to help motivate them to be on their best behavior and work on their personal struggles.
Working From Home with Infants
The age of your children is going to have an effect on your plans for how to work from home with kids. Different age groups have different needs and demand different degrees of attention and care.
For example, infants need almost constant attention. They need to be watched all the time. Even if they’re sleeping, it’s a good idea to check in on them every so often or keep a nanny cam or baby monitor in their room. Try combining your nursery and office room together so you can easily monitor your infant during tummy time while at your desk.
Working From Home with Small Children
Small children also need a lot of attention, but they are able to play by themselves more than infants can. Try setting up a nanny cam in the playroom so you can keep an eye on your small children as they play all day with their toys. But since they’re in a separate room, they’ll be less of a distraction to you while you’re working.
Then, schedule your work breaks around key points in the day for your younger children. Schedule a work break for your kids’ lunchtime and take some time to sit with them too. The breakaway from work will also help you be more productive once you get back to work. And, your kids will entertain themselves better after getting some time with you and a break from their own playroom. You can also take this time to set them up with something new to do.
Working From Home with Teenagers
Teenagers come with their own difficulties, but they can also be the easiest to work with when working from home. First of all, older children and teenagers have schoolwork to do so they can be at their own desks doing schoolwork while you work in your office. Get them their own desks so they can also focus without distractions on the schoolwork they need to do. You could even set up an intercom system at all your desks to connect your workspaces and make your own at-home office space for everyone.
Teenagers and older children are also more capable of entertaining themselves. But if you’re worried about them wasting time while you work away in your office, give them productive things to do. Give them some household chore assignments to do each day, or help them cultivate healthy hobbies like learning an instrument or learning to sew. This way, even if their homework doesn’t take them 8 hours, they’ll still be able to use the rest of your workday cultivating themselves.
Be Kind and Be Patient
When we say be kind, we mean you need to be kind to your kids and to yourself. Working from home is a very different type of workday than a workday in the office. But that’s ok! You can make it work and the way you can make it work is going to look different than someone else’s way. And that’s ok too.
Working with kids will take kindness and patience, but working from home with kids can teach you all to work, plan, and be responsible together.