I’ve been working from home for as long as I can remember. I started around the time Belle was born and never really stopped. Even when I had a full-time job, I was taking on other freelance projects because, in all honesty, I like to keep myself busy.
When Belle was born in 2009, I was working from home, designing websites and graphic design materials for different companies. I worked in between her naps, and it was not easy. The older she got, the shorter the naps were, and the harder it was for me to get any work done. We also didn’t have help, my husband was working a lot, no one else was taking care of Belle, and my parents back then were in Bulgaria, so it was very challenging for us.
With Liam, it was a bit different because once we moved back to California (Liam was around 6 months old) I had my dad with us on the weekends, which meant that we had someone to take care of the kids, and Gio and I were able to go on date nights and so on. However, during the week, my dad wasn’t there, and Gio was working long hours. So I had to learn the best way to be working from home with the kids.
This is why I wanted to share a few things that have helped me figure out how to work from home with kids; especially during these uncertain times when most of us are working from home more than before.
Tips for How To work From Home With Kids
Plan activities that don’t require supervision.
I’m all about kids playing independently. I think it’s good for them and good for us. And I’m okay with letting the kids spent time on their devices, playing educational games or maybe watching TV—everything with limitations of course. For example, both my kids have screen time on, so they can’t be on their devices all day long. Usually, they’ll start after lunchtime.
Other things that worked with my kids: If I see them playing on their own, I never interrupt. I don’t go and try to interfere or talk to them. I’d just watch from far away, and this way, they don’t expect me to be there every minute of the day. If they need me, they will let me know.
Another thing I do, I’ll prepare activities for Liam in advance. For example, I bought a bag of dry beans and put them in a big bowl on the table. Then I also put measuring spoons and smaller cups. I didn’t tell him I did that. I just left everything on the table, so when he woke up from this nap, he played for more than an hour, moving beans from one cup to the next.
Take more breaks.
When I worked at an office, I would take a lunch break, maybe take a quick walk to clear my mind in the afternoon. However, when I’m working from home, and the kids are here, I take a lot more breaks. I can’t expect to sit down and work for 2-4 hours straight. It’s just not realistic.
Prep snacks the night before.
This saves a lot of time and makes everything a lot easier. Instead of getting up and washing fruits and veggies every few hours throughout the day, I like to have everything prepped and ready. These containers are great because they’re reusable. You can keep them in the fridge and just grab and give them to your child throughout the day.
Work very early.
This worked really well with Belle. I’d wake up a few hours before she wakes up and use the time to get as much work done as I can. It doesn’t work that well with Liam because he’s such a light sleeper and 5min after I wake up he wakes up too.
Give them your undivided attention.
This is actually really hard to do. Because when you’re working from home, work doesn’t really end. There’s always something else to do. So at the end of the day, I like to close my laptop and leave it upstairs. Sometimes I even put my phone on “Do not disturb” just so I don’t get distracting notifications. And I try to give my kids my undivided attention.
I’d go to Belle’s room to talk with her or ask her if she wants to go on a walk. Liam is always up for spending time outside. We play games. No matter how tired I am from working I do my best to try and find time at the end of each day to do something fun with the kids. Either play a game or let them help me in the kitchen. I know sometimes this may mean that instead of cooking for 30 min, it will last for 1h 30 min, but I know the kids are looking forward to this time every day.
These are some stuff that worked for me. But there’s really no right or wrong way here. And I think everyone should do what works for their family.
Do you have any extra tips on how to work from home with kids? Let me know in a comment below!