So it happened as we looked on this past week, we all realized that we’ll be working from home with the kids over the next few weeks and perhaps months as we try our best to minimize those affected by COVID-19 Virus.
Parenting has always been a balancing act but now it’s at a whole new level.
We know you’ve got this covered. However, I’d love to share with you a few tips to set you up for success with your child at home while working from home.
HOW TO WORK FROM HOME WITH KIDS
Working from home can be a lot of fun but it also requires you to set up your day for success, especially if you have kids at home with you. Here’s how to keep your kids busy when you have to work from home.
- Set up your own work station
- Set up a homework station for your child
- Create zones for your child to play in
- Eat regularly and hydrate
- Add movement to your day
- Explore the power of books
- Make time for music
- Set cleanup times throughout the day
- Balance screen time
- Include quiet times
After working from home the past 10 years and teaching 5-year-olds for 10 years before that, I’ve found a few these habits seem to work for both me and my kids to stay organized, productive, and connected with my family.
1. SET UP YOUR OWN WORK STATION
Having a space that your own while working at home is crucial to feeling organized. Make a home base for where your things are stored will help you better feel prepared for the start of each day.
You’ll want a special spot to put your computer, charging station, office supplies, planner, folder and notebook. The number one rule to discuss with the kid is hands-off your work stuff.
You may need to stake claim to the dining room table, if you’re sharing a space with your spouse. A foldable table can work just fine for moments like this too.
We have a special sign to hang up if I have a conference call or virtual meeting, it means I’m on the camera to avoid any awkward moments.
Your cell phone headphones should work just fine for sound quality. However, if you need more, I love my Logitech camera for sound and camera quality.
TIP: Be sure to have a wall behind you, so that you can quickly jump on a call without having to clean up the house or let them see little one running around behind you.Time blocking your work can be a huge time saver. Here are some time saving online tools to help you work remotely.
Having trouble focusing? Use Tomato Timer. Give yourself very short, focused sprints of work that is focused on a single part of a task you have to do.
2. SET UP YOUR CHILD’S WORK STATION
Your little one will want their own little station to do their work, just like mommy and/or daddy. Trust me on this one. Depending on their age we’d suggest that you put out art supplies and paper so that they can independently work on school work and art projects.
Set out activities that are for both learning and for creativity to keep them focused longer. My daughters have a small table and chairs and then we have a short bookcase that has a limited amount of toys and activities to choose from.
You could also set up a STEM Station.
Does your child have virtual school work? Keep in mind it won’t take as long to do as a typical day at school. Break it up into a morning block and afternoon block at their work station.
Tips for Balancing Work and School Work at Home
3. CREATE ZONES FOR YOUR CHILD TO PLAY IN
Confining yourself to one space for a long period of time can get boring no matter how old you are, especially for kids.
Take some time to create zones around your house that are kid-friendly for your child. Throughout the day rotate around the house using these zones.
You can put a book basket in a few rooms, not just a bookshelf.
Set up Toy Stations around the house and rotate them around over the weeks. You can set them up by themes for extra fun. A music box, block or lego area, or an animal box.
Fabric boxes and basket are perfect for storing these.
If you’re working from a laptop you can just move around the rooms as they rotate around.
A child’s attention span is limited and this will help to prevent them from getting bored and cranky and wanting you to keep them entertained all day long.
4. EAT AND HYDRATE
Keeping everyone happy starts with keeping them feed and keeping them hydrated! Plan out your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks to stay organized.
I have a section of the fridge and pantry that my older kid know they can grab snack item. It’s also the same zone they grab stuff to make their lunches with when they pack them for school or at home.
I’ve seen a few parents suggesting to keep a basket for each child on the counter with their water bottle and snacks for the day to keep organized. I love this idea!
5. ADD MOVEMENT TO YOUR DAY
Make time to get up and walk around to take breaks. Chances are working at home might not be as comfortable as your desk and chair at work. The kitchen counter can be a great place to stand and work too, stretch those legs.
Your child needs to move too! For older kids, hopefully, you can send time outdoors to the backyard, perhaps work from your back porch. They can even play some of these fun sidewalk chalk games that sneak in a little learning too.
For younger toddlers jumping, hopping, rolling around can be all they need for a quick 15 minutes through-out various parts of the day. Be sure to talk time for a quick walk in your yard to simply pause with nature and your child.
A dance party is a great way to work out this grumpies and wiggles together!
Here are some helpful tips and resources for staying active at home with kids.
Now might be a good time to set up that birdfeeder you’ve been wanting to.
Here are some indoor movement activities for your child. Or try out these ball games kid love. At the end of the day you might even like to try this mommy and my workouts.
6. EXPLORE THE POWER OF BOOKS
Each day you will want to incorporate books into your routine. Babies, Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Grade Schoolers all enjoy the power of books in their day.
The key though is to set up little zones where they can sit and enjoy reading. You can even make a book basket with themed items to go along with it for creative play and learning.
7. BALANCE YOUR SCREEN TIME
Create limit expectations with your child ahead of time to avoid too much screen time. Moods of children and frankly adults can be dramatically altered by the volume of screen time they have. Choose wisely.
Most school districts already have a library of educational resources and games for your child to log into at home.
Encourage your child to take a few Virtual Field Trips during this time!
Movie time can be a great reward for your child’s behavior throughout the day, in the late afternoon as you’re wrapping up your workday with one last push to get things completed for the day.
8. MAKE TIME FOR MUSIC AT HOME
One key element to a happy home is music! You can have music on during transitions or during playtime for singing and dancing for your child. Nothing breaks up the grumpies like a quick song and dance!
Here are some helpful tips for making music every day with your child. If you have a baby at home, you’ll enjoy these action songs for babies.
Personally, I tend to have a deep thinking and zen channels set up on my Spotify account playing at times to help block some of the noise the kids make while they are playing to help me concentrate.
9. SET CLEAN UP TIMES THROUGHOUT DAY
A little tip as a former teacher, always is sure to keep tabs on how clean the toys are. It’s really difficult for a child to put all the toys away if they’ve been left to play with all day long and never put anything away.
Especially since we’re doing more handwashing as part of the quarantine prevention efforts, set up a few times throughout the day to do a quick clean up.
The nice part about using baskets is that it’s a visible space to put something back into. Bookcase shelves are great for this too if everything needs to be placed onto a shelf.
Make a rule that everything goes back to its home before bedtime as part of your nightly routine. Make it playful, trust me even one-year-olds can help with clean up time.
Have the kids help with some of the household chores too. This might a good time to earn screen time with tasks around the house?
10. INCLUDE QUIET TIMES
To survive a day at home, a week at home, or even months at home with your child you will want to plan for quiet times. Your child needs it and trust me, you will need it.
Little ones tend to easily go done for a nap after lunchtime since it’s usually part of their normal routine. This is a key time to get work done!!!
But even the bigger kid need to have quiet time too. They can read books in their bed or listen to instrumental music while lying down for at least 30 minutes.
TIP: These quiet times are the time to crunch your work time, deeper thinking tasks, or ones that require you to connect with employees at work.
Early morning time before your kid wakes up is a great time to sneak in your work too!
SAFETY CHECK FOR HOME (BONUS TIP)
Last but not least, since your little one will be home more than normal and you may get distracted while doing your own work, take time to do a safety check on all areas of the house. Please keep your little ones safe.
- Monitor sibling toys for small pieces to avoid choking hazards.
- Secure bookcases to walls.
- Check your baby locks on cabinets to ensure your little one stays away from dangerous objects/cleaners.
- Check for broken toys.
- Never leave your child in another room eating without supervision.