Working from home has its challenges and its perks. Both challenges and perks are magnified when you throw kids into the mix too. Balancing work & kids is challenging at the best of times, but now you’re expected to do both at home, while also potentially homeschooling, and coming to terms with a global pandemic. We reached out to our colleagues at LUNCH:ON who are working from home with children to get their tips on how they juggle everything — they’re the experts after all!
1. Set up a kid’s routine/calendar that aligns with your work schedule
All parents know routines are essential. This doesn’t change when you’re working from home. Setting a routine for your children that works with & around your work schedule means you can be as efficient as possible at both providing care for your children and getting your work done. For example, if your children are of ‘nap time’ age, schedule in work during this time that requires your full, uninterrupted attention.
2. Introduce your kids to your team
Introducing your children to your team or those you are interacting with a lot daily (virtually, of course) is great for both your children and your colleagues! It’s a great way to bond with your colleagues and set expectations. Your children will also feel included and will be a little less curious about your video calls, so less likely to interrupt! (We suggest keeping your calls on mute just in case though…)
3. Teach your kids to interrupt you only for emergencies
Now, this is easier said than done, but with a little (or a lot) of persistence, your kids can learn when and when not to interrupt you, when you’re working. Some parents recommend setting fun child-friendly signals that represent “do not disturb”, like wearing a party hat when you’re on a call. Others, however, recommend simply reiterating to only interrupt them while working if there is an emergency.
4. Create a dedicated space for your work
Having an area that you and your children relate to as “Mom/Dad at work” is important in setting boundaries (for both you and the kids!) A great tip, is to set up a children’s work/play area near yours so they feel important and included too. Depending on their age, asking them to help you with small home or office work also helps give them a sense of importance and responsibility, as well as keeping them busy. Don’t forget to keep things like filled water bottles, toys, homework at children’s reach, so they’re not interrupting you every 5 minutes asking you for something they could get themselves.
5. Have things ready for the onset of boredom
Prepare an emergency boredom box in advance. Every parent knows and fears the “I’m bored” cry. Be prepared for it by creating a box of fun games, crafts, activities (relevant to your children’s age group) so all you have to do is pull it out and you have another hour of peace. If the box doesn’t work, don’t feel guilty about giving in to a little more screen time, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get your work done.
6. Spend time with your kids, and they’ll let you spend time on work
Try and take advantage of being at home. Spending time with your children doesn’t mean you’re not working hard, or getting what you need to get done. If you take 15 minutes every couple of hours and catch-up with your kids, play a quick game, or watch a cartoon with them they’re more likely to let you get some work done after. Win-win.
7. Prepare your meals in advance
Advance planning is key. Having your lunches sorted for the week means less time in the kitchen and more time to spend with your kids on your lunch break. Did you know we just introduced family meals on LUNCH:ON? You can now order for your whole family with meals also suitable for children from the best restaurants. It’ll take you 5 minutes to choose & order your lunches for the week. Simple things sometimes make life a lot easier.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list and will vary depending on your children’s age, your parenting style, and the nature of your own work we hope it gives you some ideas or, at the very least, reassurance that you’re not in this alone.
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