Are you working from home with kids? If there is one positive that came out of the pandemic, it is the increased flexibility in the way we work. But whilst getting to spend more time with the kiddos is (usually) a good thing, when you’ve got a deadline to meet and the kids are playing chicken with real eggs, it can sometimes feel like a mixed blessing.
This is a collaborative post by Sue Seabury
Never fear – you can handle the challenge and even thrive in it. Keep reading to learn five smart strategies to use when working from home.
1. Set Realistic Expectations
One of the primary sanity-saving actions you can take is to lower your expectations of what you can accomplish in a day. Presumably you are staying home because you want more time to spend with your family. Enjoy that time, and whatever you do, don’t feel guilty about either taking a few minutes to enjoy an impromptu tea party with the plushies — or getting back to work afterward.
2. Establish Boundaries When Working From Home With Kids
When you bring work home, setting boundaries for yourself and the rest of your family is absolutely essential. This can be a simple physical barrier, such as shutting the door to your home office, or mental, which means sticking to the hours you have agreed upon and not working late into the night all the time just because you can. Create an ‘At Work’ sign or use some other visual cue to help create the barrier. Explain to the kids that when it is posted, they are not to bother you. If they interrupt, be kind but firm when you tell them that you will need X more minutes until you can take a break to be with them. Then stick to your promise. Clear boundaries and follow-through on expectations help everyone to feel more relaxed, and to be co-operative.
3. Devise Child Activities
Another successful work-from-home strategy is to have a list of activities at the ready to keep your kids occupied while you get your work done. What types of activities these are will of course depend upon your children’s ages and interests, but some ideas include crafting and art supplies, building materials like LEGO or blocks, a selection of books, puzzles, or other educational games, and of course, schoolwork. Also keep small rewards on hand, like gold star stickers or coupons for an hour at the park for keeping themselves occupied and not making too much of a mess. Motivating your children to be self-directed teaches them the skill of self-discipline, an important habit of highly productive people.
4. Prioritise Tasks When Working From Home With Kids
Each morning (or the evening before for the planners out there), write down your top five list of items to accomplish in order of priority. If you only get to three that day, this is still progress (review tip #1). Then, write in the final two items to the top of the list for the next day, or reprioritise based on your needs. If you finish your list, make up a new one. Writing your tasks down offers the dual benefits of keeping you focused and giving you the thrill of crossing things off, preferably with a big, bold marker pen. We all love a list, right?
5. Create a Dedicated Workspace
We can’t all afford the luxury of a home office, but you can designate a space as your personal work zone. This is important for you and your family both mentally and physically. Even if it’s just a table in the corner of the kitchen, explain to the kids that this is your office and therefore off-limits. Praise and reward your children for respecting your space. To make your kids feel loved, also consider creating designed personal spaces for them as well.
Bonus tip: Be sure to schedule breaks into your day. No one works eight straight hours. At the very least, take a real lunch break, a brisk walk, or do a few yoga stretches each day. Get the kids in on it too, giving you more guilt-free time together.
Author’s Bio: Sue Seabury is a novelist and regular contributor to The Pearl Source blog. She is passionate about family, fashion, and fun.
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