Working from home is becoming more and more common. Sometimes, working from home is a personal choice when employers permit it. Other times, working from home might be necessary due to illness, the need to take care of a sick child, or another event, such as a natural disaster or health crisis.
Regardless of why a parent might need to work from home, it can be a daunting task to figure out how to work from home with kids. This is especially true if circumstances make finding childcare nearly impossible. Fortunately, parents have been able to develop workable solutions while also maintaining their sanity and work productivity.
1. Communication expectations
The first step you can take when figuring out how to work from home with kids is to set clear expectations with everyone in the household. During what timeframes will you and your spouse be working? What are the expectations of the children? What are the emergencies that warrant the children interrupting you if needed? Who will take care of the baby or younger children when the parent(s) are working?
When the family is onboard and working together as a team, it can make working from home without childcare much easier. It also creates a sense of unity for the household.
2. Set up your home office
Locate an area of your home that will be your “office” space, and set it up to have what you need to work from home effectively. This is an area that’s best to be “off-limits” to others in your home during “working” hours.
Determining how to keep kids busy while working from home can be overwhelming, especially if you’re working from home without childcare several days in a row.
If your children have schoolwork to do, then that’s one activity that’s a no-brainer to keep them busy. Create a list of additional activities that each child enjoys, and gather the tools required for those activities. Discussing the list and being prepared ahead of time will make it easier to suggest activities at any given moment to keep your kids occupied with minimal disruption to you.
Create a schedule and stick to it. Include your working hours and the items you need to accomplish during those times, just as you would if you were working in an office. Also, build in your children’s activities as well as necessary breaks for yourself. You want to use your time wisely, while also appreciating that working from home without childcare requires flexibility. Balance is required between the need to adhere to a schedule while being flexible with that schedule.
5. Consider childcare sharing
When possible, connect with other parents who work from home and offer to share childcare services. Sharing childcare services means parents participating can be childfree for periods throughout the week. You won’t have to worry about how to keep kids busy while working from home during those periods.
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If you need tips for working from home with a baby, toddler, or school-aged children and teens, the above best practices are an excellent place to start. As you implement the necessary steps to adjust to your new routine, you’ll create a healthy and productive environment for everyone in your home.