Whew. Last week was a week. Coronavirus flipped the switch on the day to day for many Americans. As a result, many of us are practicing social distancing and working from home. Schools have also canceled across the country. So some of us are working from home with little kids in the mix. If this is true for you, we have some tips to get you through!
Over 5 years ago I left my 9-5 as a brand new momma to stay at home with my daughter. At the same time, I dove head first into working from home. I spent the next 3 years trying (and mostly failing) to find a balance between working from home and being a stay at home mom. Ultimately, I threw in the towel on trying to do both things at once. BUT desperate times call for desperate measures!!!
My marketing partner, Tonnisha, is a single mom and full time business owner. Plus, she’s been working from home with her 3 year old daughter. She typically works out of a co-working space but in light of current circumstances, she is keeping her daughter out of daycare and navigating through this same challenge.
Learn from our mistakes! Use these tips to make your time working from home with kids more pleasant + productive.
Tip 1 - Be patient.
Take a deep breath. Take them often. Your kid likes you. That’s what all the pestering is about. He/she probably thinks the things you do are interesting. Take some extra time to answer questions about what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Tip 2 - Try to set expectations.
If age appropriate, tell your little that you’ll be working in the extra bedroom or at the dining room table for “X” amount of time. If it helps set an alarm or a timer so that you both know when that designated time will be over. Have a treat you can share or plan an activity that you can do together at the end of the designated time. This way you both have something to look forward to!
Tip 3 - Try to maintain a schedule.
It’s easy to let your kids sleep in so that you can get some extra work done. However, it is important to try and maintain your regular schedule as much as possible. This will be helpful for you to get your work done and maintain sanity in your household.
Tip 4 - Take breaks often.
Your kid is little and their capacity for staying focused on anything for an extended amount of time (or anything close to 8 hours) is severely limited--think how hard it is for us to stay focused for an 8 hour stretch!! And we’ve had practice. Regular breaks will help you both!
Tip 5 - Divide and conquer.
When you really need time to focus and get something done, work split shifts with your partner or a friend. If you can make this happen, it might be the best way to get some actual work done.
Tip 6 - Keep them out of your work space.
This may depend on the age of your child, but if possible keep them out of your work space. Do not let them bring their toys (especially the ones that talk) or tablets in your area. This will help you to eliminate distractions and focus on your work.
As for our children, it's complicated; they enjoy being in our work spaces. If your kids are anything like ours, maintaining some boundaries will help you be able to conquer your work day.
Tip 7 - Give yourself some slack.
Trust me, depending on the age of your children, your work day will not be as productive as it would be at your office. It is nearly impossible. Celebrate the little things! Create a to-do list of what you want to accomplish for the day and even if you get through one of things, you’ve succeeded.
You've got this! If you have any specific questions or struggles, comment and let us know and we would be happy to share more about our experiences.