How to Work from Home with Kids

by Courtney Christensen

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us are lucky enough to be working from home to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. Working from home comes with its own challenges, and those can seem even harder knowing that kids are also part of the equation.

Set up a routine.

Having a routine helps make us feel normal. When your schedule is suddenly interrupted, it can cause stress, apathy, and a decrease in your usual productivity. So, take a shower and get dressed like you usually would in the mornings. Set up a schedule for your kids, too. They’re lacking structure right now just as much as you are.

There are dozens of great example schedules online, but the most important part is to keep up a normal routine as much as possible right now. Make sure your kids aren’t spending their whole day just watching television or doing homework. Give them a little variety – it will keep them from getting bored which will keep them from bugging you during important conference calls.

Create a space just for you.

Having a room or a space set up just for you to do your work is going to make a world of a difference. Not only will it give you a place where you can focus, one that is the same every day, but it will also help your kids understand when you can (and can’t) be interrupted.

If you’re lucky to have an extra room or office where you can work, that’s great! If not, section off a part of another room, away from distractions as much as possible, for you to work. Remind your kids that while you’re in this spot, you’re working and they may need to wait for your attention.

Keep your kids active.

There are plenty of ideas online for activities you can set up for your kids during the quarantine. It’s important to keep in mind, most kids do not have the patience or concentration to focus on a single activity for very long. Make sure to switch things up during the day.

Keeping their schedule full of different activities will keep them from getting bored or restless. Don’t forget to include educational activities as well as purely entertaining ones.

Utilize quiet time.

One major change from working in an office is having the ability to have meetings and calls in silence without interruptions. This is going to be the most difficult part of working from home with kids around. Instead of trying to make these calls over the rambunctious noises of your kids playing indoor tag, work quiet time into their routine.

If you are able to, schedule your calls and meetings for the same time every day. For instance, if you can make all of your calls between 8-10 AM, your kids can use this time to watch a movie or play quietly on their tablets.

 Get outside.

Even though the quarantine prevents us from meeting with groups of people, that doesn’t mean you are stuck indoors for the next several weeks. With spring already in full swing, the weather is going to be getting much nicer.

Go on a walk, ride your bikes as a family, set up a garden outside, or even lounge on a porch swing. Making sure you and your family are getting enough vitamin D is extremely important during this isolation period.

Take time for yourself and your kids.

After working all day, you will want to spare some time for yourself and your family. Instead of jumping right into doing chores or cooking dinner, do something fun that everyone can enjoy. Build a fort, binge a Netflix show, take the dogs for a walk – really anything that allows you to spend quality time with your kids.

Plus, don’t forget to spend some time with your significant other! There are plenty of dates you can set up without having to leave your home.

Don’t feel guilty.

While you may have the best of intentions when setting up a routine and creating activities for everyone during the quarantine, don’t be too hard on yourself if you find it isn’t working as well as you’d hoped. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it! You and your spouse may be able to work out a schedule that allows for one of you to work while the other entertains the kids.

Don’t be afraid to use screentime to get your job done, either. Sometimes, it’s the only option you’ve got. Your kids will be fine if they spend a day watching Frozen II on repeat.

The quarantine is hard on everybody, but we’ll get through it! Don’t forget to stay healthy while at home. Keep up with washing your hands and sanitizing things that get touched on a regular basis (think door knobs, counters, handles, remotes, and cell phones).

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