Working from home with schools closed for the last few months has been difficult, but for many the battle isn’t over yet. During the summer holidays this year we don’t have holiday clubs or childcare to help keep the kids entertained while we work from home.
Homeschooling before the summer was hard, and on one hand I’m definitely grateful that we don’t have to try and get school work done, but on the other hand at least it was something for the kids to do. Now we have to try and provide entertainment as well as getting work done! Even if there are two of you working from home it’s not easy to manage.
If you’re wondering how to juggle working from home with also being a full-time parent this summer, I’m afraid I don’t really have the answers for you. It’s a no win situation really, neglect work or neglect the kids. Either way something is going to suffer, you simply can’t be in two places at once and staying focused when you work from home is tough at the best of times.
If you’re employed and working from home hopefully your employer is understanding enough to realise that having kids at home while you work is the only option at the moment and you’re not going to be able to work your usual hours. But if they’re not, or if you are your own boss, then here are some tips on how to get work done when you have kids at home…
Talk to your kids
If your kids are at an age where you can reason with them, it’s worth explaining that you need them to help you out by entertaining themselves for a while so you can get some work done.
Let them know that it’s important to get your work done and the quicker you can get everything finished, the quicker you can all do something fun together.
It’s always a good idea to have lots of activities planned for your kids to stop them from coming to you complaining that they’re bored after half an hour.
Do some research on Pinterest and come up with some ideas of easy to do crafts that will keep them busy for a while. Buy craft supplies in advance and if you have room, put it all out on the table so they have access to everything they need.
Have a schedule
This can include time for yourself to work and have breaks, time for your kids to show you what they’ve made, time for them to watch tv, and time for lunch. Having some kind of schedule makes it easier for you to structure your working day and allows your children to have some structure and routine.
If you and your partner are both working from home, can you take it in turns to look after the kids and get some work done? If one of you could take a morning shift while the other works and vice versa it would make life a lot simpler. Unfortunately this isn’t always possible but handy if you have to do a call and can’t be interrupted.
Work in a different room
If your kids are old enough to be left alone in another room for a while this can give you chance to get more work done than if they are sat playing around you. Put the TV on, set them up with a game or craft that doesn’t need supervision and go and work in a different room. Obviously don’t forget to check on them every so often and be within shouting distance.
It’s a good idea to plan some fun activities to do together as a family once you have finished your work. Asking the kids to write a list of things they want to do, gives them things to look forward to and an incentive to amuse themselves.
Agree on what you’ll do in the afternoon or weekend once you have completed all the important work things you need to get done. This could include a day out at a local park or farm, or a treat of ice-cream or cake at a local cafe.
If you can’t leave your kids alone for long and you need to join an urgent call or video meeting, it can be a good idea to ask a relative or friend to chat online with your kids for a while. You could set up a Zoom call with the grandparents, or a Skype call with some school friends.
How have you been managing working from home and looking after the kids for the last few months? Do you have any other tips to get work done when you have kids at home?