If you’re planning on working from home with kids, then you’re going to need some survival tips to make sure you don’t go crazy. Trying to get work done while taking care of kids is doable, but it requires your total dedication and commitment. Some days will be rougher than others, but you shouldn’t let that put you off going freelance or working remotely. There are many benefits to consider, as well as cons that we’ll go into later, too. Without further adieu, here are your survival tips if you’re planning on working from home with kids.
Be Realistic About How Much You’re Actually Going to Get Done
It’s so important to be realistic about how much you’re actually going to get done when you’re working at home with kids. It can be tough, so you may need to make changes to your day to day schedule. You can’t just give your kid an iPad or sit them in front of the TV and hope they’ll leave you alone for hours. They have a short attention span, so you’re going to need to take this into account as you plan your day.
If you’re freelance and you’ve not yet had kids or you’re planning on expanding your family, it’s best to plan for some time off work to spend with your newborn, so save some money. You really won’t want to sit there and work when you could be resting or spending time with your baby. You can make this time much less stressful by asking friends and family for help, and using online resources such as this newborn parent’s hospital bag checklist to make sure you have everything in place. It might take you 3-4 month to feel ready to get back to work, so plan for this and ensure you have the budget to live comfortably in the meantime. You’ll want to get into a routine with your newborn before going back to work and you’ll regret it if you try to tackle too much, too soon.
Explain What’s Going on to Them
If your kids are a little older, you’re going to want to explain what’s going on to them so you can get as much done as possible day to day. When you talk to them about this, make them feel like a part of the team and let them know their job is to help you both stay productive. You can also make this more effective by practicing a few emergency drills – what should they do if you go into another room to take a call? Many kids won’t think twice about running in after you to share a piece of unimportant information. They need to know how to act in certain situations, and only to come to you while you’re on a call if it’s a real emergency. Practice this with them so you have peace of mind and confidence that they know exactly what to do.
You can offer daily incentives to your kids that will encourage them to let you get on with your work in peace. For example, this could be something as simple as a walk in the park or even a meal at your favorite restaurant. This also gives you more of a reason to spend quality time with them in the week, which can be tough to factor in to your day if you aren’t careful. You definitely don’t want to skimp on bonding time!
Have an Area That Is Your Designated Home Office
You can’t be expected to do your highest quality, most productive work in the same room that your kids are playing in. Yes, there are some exceptions – some remote worker parents have laser focus and can work just about anywhere. However, this is not for everybody. You may wish to put together an area that’s just for you to work in, a place your kids know they must knock on the door before they can come in.
Find Flexible Ways to Get Things Done
Although having some sort of schedule is highly recommended when you work from home and want to get as much done as possible, you’ll also need to find flexible ways to get things done.
You won’t be able to get absolutely everything done every single day with the same schedule, as kids rarely work like that and will likely have different things going on themselves. Some evenings you may need to commit to working the night shift after the kids have gone to bed so you can get more done – just make sure you take a powernap first so you can get as much done as possible. Don’t be afraid to grab a babysitter for an hour or two while you get some important work done. Hiring a babysitter part time is something many freelancers and remote workers decide to do, and when you think of how much money you’re saving on things like the weekly commute, you will probably come to the decision that it’s worth it.
Plan Multiple Breaks
When you’re planning the day ahead or your weekly schedule, make sure you plan for multiple breaks. Most people get more work done when they plan for numerous breaks, as sitting in front of a computer or a piece of work for one long stretch of time can be demotivating. Working for half an hour and having a 5-10 minute break can be a great way to stay motivated and spend a little time with your kids in between. Just make sure that when you’re spending time with your kids, you’re fully present and not thinking about your work or elsewhere in your head.
Get up Super Early in the Morning
Something you can do if you really want to get some quality work done is get up super early in the morning. It sounds horrible, but if you get into a good routine with it, you’ll feel so much better getting that quality work done before anybody else has gotten out of bed. You then won’t have to worry so much later on in the day. To get as much done as possible during this time, have your own little ritual to set yourself up. Consider doing a little yoga, making a hot drink and setting intentions for the day before you begin. Make sure you stay away from energy drains, such as social media and emails for at least the first few hours of the day. If you can do this, then you’ll get so much more done and feel a lot better.
Make Self Care a Priority
It can be super hard to find the right work/life balance when you work from home, but it’s important to make self care a priority. Make sure you take the time to eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and get outside every day. Do some exercise, take a bath, and read a book. Do things you enjoy and things you know are good for you so you can continue feeling your best, getting your best work done, and caring from your kids. Nobody can pour from an empty cup, so make sure you take care of yourself first.
Remember the Bigger Picture
As we mentioned earlier, some days are likely to be harder than others. Try to focus on the tasks that matter most during the first part of the day, or when you know you are at your most productive. Some people are true night owls, while others are most productive at around 3pm in the day. By knowing when you’re personally best off doing your higher energy/lower energy tasks, you’ll reduce stress and get as much done as you can.
Remember; the memories that you can make working from home when you have kids are more than worth the trials and tribulations. Now, onto the pros and cons!
The Pros and Cons of Working from Home with Kids
- Pro – You get to spend extra time with your kids
- Con – that extra time might not exactly be stress free
Although you should have extra time to spend at home with your kids, it’s important you know how to manage your stress levels!
- Pro – you may be able to eliminate childcare costs
- Con – you might find yourself less productive at work without help
Getting help is still a good idea, even if it’s just occasionally.
- Pro – working from home can save money on commuting and other costs
- Con – you may need to take a cut in salary
How much do you really need to live comfortably? A pay cut may be worth it when you consider the benefits.
- Pro – more flexibility can lead to making healthy lifestyle changes
- Con – feeling isolated can lead to unhealthy habits
Knowing yourself well enough to build healthy habits and eliminate bad habits will make working from home a breeze.
How will you survive working from home with kids?