Working from home has always sounded like a dream, right? You have a flexible schedule, save on commuting costs, you only have to get dressed from the waist up, and you can hang out with your awesome kids! But now that it’s actually happening, you’re finding out that those awesome kids of yours are definitely going to get into some mischief if you don’t keep a close eye on them. Balancing work and childcare at home can be a total recipe for stress and anxiety. When I started working from home with my three kids in tow, it was absolutely crazy. Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about working from home with kids, and I’ve put together a few of my top tips to make it more manageable!
1.) Expect a learning curve
It will take a while to get into a rhythm and work out the kinks, so be patient. Give yourself and your kids permission to adjust. It took me a few months to really get the hang of working from home with kids, so don’t be hard on yourself if you haven’t figured it all out yet. Everybody deserves a little extra grace during the transition period.
2.) Be a planner
The flexibility that comes with working from home is amazing, but that doesn’t mean you can just wing it every day. Set a start time, a break time, and an end time, and stick to it whenever possible. Try to stay in a routine during the workweek, and use a time tracking or productivity app for reminders at certain times of the day.
3.) Temporarily separate your work space
In an ideal world, you’d have a separate home office, but these days many of us are working from the kitchen table, bedroom, or couch. Whichever space you’re using to work, clear it from clutter before you start working, as much as you can.
Why? Squeezing your laptop in between your kid’s coloring pages and the dirty plates from breakfast just doesn’t make for a great working environment. A clean table sends a signal to my brain (and my older kids) that it’s work time, and that helps me to focus. When you’re done working, put your stuff away somewhere out of sight.
4.) Be upfront
Most people understand that you’re a real person with a real life outside of the work you do. Whenever I have a conference call, I quickly give a heads-up that they might hear my kids in the backgroun!
Now remember, everybody’s work at home experience is going to be a little different. Some people will take to it right away while others will quickly discover it just isn’t a good fit. Still, we’re all trying to make the best of it and hopefully, these tips will help make life a little easier.
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Laura is a working mom of three living in Lynchburg, VA, sharing healthy recipes on her blog, Cook at Home Mom.