Working from home can be challenging enough on its own. Having children at home while you are trying to work can be an even bigger challenge. So how can you make working from home with kids actually work? To answer this, you will need to consider the age and needs of your child and implement a plan to keep everyone productive.
In our previous article “How to Work from Home Effectively” we provided tips on how to be efficient while working from home. But kids at home make for a different kind of curveball to your productivity. See our tips below on how to work from home with kids.
Tips for Working from Home with Kids
- Be Flexible – one of the most important things you will need to have when working from home with children is flexibility. Children are unpredictable and depending on their age and unique needs they may need more or less support throughout the day. Know that your day might not always be the day you planned and do make your children’s needs a priority.
- Consider working during “off hours” – if it is possible for you to work either before or after your children have gone to bed, consider moving the bulk of your work to those times. If you must take calls that require your children to be quiet, it might be easier to book them during naps or scheduled quiet time.
- Lean into your support network – if you have a support person who is able to care for your children consider letting them help where they can. We know this isn’t always an option, but if you can, ask for help when you need it.
- Take breaks – you should expect to take breaks often when working from home with kids. From fighting with a sibling or needing you to provide lunch, children have a lot of different needs. Know that it is ok to pause what you are doing when your kids need you. Just have a plan for getting back on track.
- Communicate – if your children are old enough to understand that you are working, set boundaries and communicate with them. Let them know when they can expect you to take a break and be present. Give them rules such as being quiet during client calls and not entering your office during your working hours.
Understand It Won’t Be Perfect
When working at home with your children it’s important to remember that you won’t always have perfect days. Sometimes your kids will need more attention and support from you, and this might mean that your workday won’t look like you were hoping to. If your entire office team is working from home too they likely understand the challenges it brings and will be sympathetic to noise in the background or interrupting children.
Be kind to yourself and your kids too. When things don’t go as planned, re-evaluated and figure out what you need to do to be more successful and complete required tasks. Also consider speaking with your boss about the realities of working from home and ask for extensions or accommodations as may be required.