Working at home is a blessing for most parents. Alleviating the need for expensive daycare and getting to spend more time with your little one are some of the biggest wishes a parent could receive. But having kids around can make it difficult to actually work.
Use these tips as a guide to actually getting something done when the kids are home.
Break Up the Day
Kids have short attention spans, and when theirs ends, yours is sure to follow. You may be comfortable with working in large blocks of time, but they certainly are not. Break up the work day into a series of smaller increments with time for your children in between.
Working at home can be an amazing experience for you and your children.
A structured routine is a must if you work at home, and it also serves as a building block for a healthy childhood. Manage your time and that of your children by establishing a pattern. If mommy or daddy can’t be bothered for an hour every day after breakfast, pretty soon that routine will become, well, routine.
The gaps in that structured routine must be filled with something to do. The urge to barge in on you will be much easier to resist if your children have something to keep them occupied.
Let’s say the activity is coloring. For your first small chunk of time that you’re dedicating to work, give them coloring books and crayons, but remind them that it’s not time to show you their finished product until you come out and ask.
It seems obvious, but reward good behavior. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but for a kid, keeping quiet and resisting the urge to see what you’re up to is a tall task. If they get through it, let them know you appreciate it with a favorite food or game.
Most parents can only dream about getting a paycheck without leaving their kids with strangers.
As a caveat to tip #3, leave room for elasticity in your routine. Kids are unpredictable. Life is unpredictable. Have a routine, but don’t set it in stone. Get your work done, but don’t forget: One of the main reasons you’re working at home is to have time with your kids.
Working at home is awesome, but you don’t have a boss to keep you on course. Walking that tightrope can be tough under the easiest of circumstances. Add children into the mix and it can easily become unmanageable.
If you get in a groove, however, you’ll be the envy of parents everywhere who wave goodbye to their kids every morning as they leave for work.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about parenting and child merchandise like jogging strollers.