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  • Writer's pictureTy Bailey

Surviving as a Work-From-Home Parent With Kids at Home

Having the ability to work from home may seem like a dream come true, but it can be challenging when you have kids at home. As a work-from-home parent, you likely find yourself struggling to balance work, childcare tasks, and also having a single moment to just focus on what you're doing. Here is some advice for surviving and thriving as a work-from-home parent with kids at home.

As a work-from-home parent, whether you just brought a new baby home, happen to have a toddler or two stuck at home with you all day, or have an older child that's on break from being at school all day, trying to work and balance having wild animals demanding snacks and running around nonstop is not an easy task.

Here are a few things that can help lessen the chaos. It's unlikely that any parents or caregivers will be able to do all of these unless your children are just absolute saints, but ever little bit will help provide you with some stability and sanity!

Establish a Routine

One of the most important things you can do to make your work-from-home life easier is to establish a routine. In most cases, kids thrive on routine and predictability, so try to create a schedule that works for both you and your kiddos.

Set aside specific times for work, meals, playtime, and other activities. Having a routine will help you stay organized and focused, and it will also give your kids a sense of structure and stability.

Especially if you have a toddler that is high-demand, doing something like setting a kitchen timer to "ding" when your work time stop and playtime begins is a great way to set a small boundary and help them learn that they're going to have to wait for a cue before they get their favorite playmate back for a bit.

Create a Dedicated Workspace

When you're working from home, it's important to have a dedicated workspace where you can focus on your work. Ideally, this should be a separate room with a door that you can close to minimize distractions. If you have little ones running around in your home, closing a door simply won't be an option, but still having that space away from the main "busy" areas of your home will greatly reduce the amount of noise and distractions.

If your children are reasonable enough to play quietly in another room for periods at a time, I still recommend investing in a good baby cam to keep an eye on them as you work for both peace of mind as well as preventing any sneakiness when your child thinks you're distracted.

If you don't have a separate room to use, try to create a designated area in your home where you can work without interruption despite that, such as in a corner area in your bedroom or somewhere else less likely to have your kids running by and being wild. Make sure your workspace is comfortable and well-lit, and invest in a good chair and desk to prevent back pain and other health problems.

Parents and caregivers of newborns and little ones that can still be contained in a baby jail, you've got a little while until that separate space is needed, so enjoy your time working with your new little bundle or mini-human right close by.

Set Boundaries with Your Kids

When you're working from home with kids in the house, it can be challenging to set boundaries and maintain a balance between work and family time. It's important to establish clear boundaries with your kids, so they know when it's okay to interrupt you and when they need to give you space.

As an example, you might set aside specific times during the day when you're available to help with homework or play with your kids, and let them know that during other times, you need to focus on work despite how much you'd definitely rather be spending time with them.

Older kids tend to handle this well, but little ones either cannot grasp such a concept or simply don't care. Just keep providing clarification and setting those boundaries, and you're likely to get a few days without constant interruptions. Some days, your little one just isn't going to care about your employment, and it's going to be difficult to get things done.

Take Breaks

Working from home can be isolating, and it's important to take breaks throughout the day to recharge and connect with your family. Try to schedule regular breaks into your routine, and use this time to stretch, grab a snack, or take a quick walk around the block. It's good to switch up your environment, get moving, and make sure you're still providing your kids with the attention they need throughout the day.

Taking breaks can help you stay focused and productive, and it really helps to keep your children satisfied with getting to have so many interactions with you while you're working from home.

Get Creative with Childcare

If you have young children who require a lot of attention, it can be challenging to work from home without any help. (Fellow toddler parents, you know exactly what I'm talking about.)

If possible, consider getting creative with your childcare arrangements if you don't have any willing friends or local family members to lend a hand. For example, you could hire a babysitter for a few hours a day or swap childcare duties with another work-from-home parent in your neighborhood, offering each other some help and some time to really focus a few times per week. You may also consider want to consider enrolling your child in a part-time preschool program if they're little or hiring a tutor to help with homeschooling if your older child receives their education at home.

Practice Self-Care

As a work-from-home parent, it's easy to get so caught up in work and childcare responsibilities that you forget to take care of yourself. That's basically the reality for most of us.

It's important to prioritize self-care and make time for activities that recharge and rejuvenate you. This could be exercise, meditation, reading, or spending time outdoors. It may even be just lying in bed for a bit, snacking on popcorn and watching YouTube.

Whatever self-care looks like for you, when you take care of yourself, you'll be better equipped to handle the demands of both work and parenthood.

Communicate with Your Employer

Last but certainly not least, it's important to communicate with your employer about your work-from-home situation and any challenges you may be facing. Be honest and transparent about your needs and limitations, and work together to find solutions that work for everyone. Some employers may be more understanding than others, but if you work from home and have children in the home with you, it's something that's an unavoidable reality, and those you're working for need to be in the loop about what your average day and capabilities are going to look like.

It's Not Easy, But It's Possible

Being a work-from-home parent with kids at home can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By using the above advice, you can make the most of your work-from-home experience and enjoy quality time with your family while still earning a paycheck.

Just remember to be patient and flexible, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We all need it at times. With the right strategies and the right mindset, you can thrive as a work-from-home parent and achieve both professional and personal success without sacrificing either aspect for the other.

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