Working from home with children: Tips to make it work

Just recently, remote work meant a quiet home where things got done with zero interruptions. Now that you suddenly have, at best, more than one toddler or preschooler in your team, it’s all about constant service requests.

Is it possible to get something done when someone is constantly thirsty, hungry or bored? Or even worse… if a shelf crashes down, the toilet is washed with a toothbrush, or a soup is made from the kitchen spices as soon as you look away? We put together a list of five tips that might help you reach even one of your working day’s targets.

1. Start early or stop late

If your child is a late sleeper, you’ll probably get more done in the early morning hours than during the entire rest of the day. If creative play kicks off at 6 a.m., it’s better to postpone any jobs that require concentration until the evening. Make the most of naptime (including your own, if need be).

2. Make a timetable

Scheduled outings to the park (taking turns with the other parent if one’s available) along with eating, nap and play times remind the child of daycare routines, calming down their mind and your workday. Home schooling with older kids will also require less parent intervention with a timetable in place. If you can’t keep to the timetable, don’t feel bad. No one else can either.

3. Cook more at one go

As a remote worker you are suddenly not only the childminder and teacher but also the chef and the cleaner. Make double portions for dinner so you’ll have the next day’s lunch ready, and you’ll only have to clear up your cooking mess once. In emergencies, get a delivery. Your frayed nerves, your clients and the local restaurant will thank you.

4. Relax the rules

It’s best to turn your camera off for remote meetings, but you still don’t want your toddlers pillow-fighting in the background. Put on a kids’ online gym or yoga class, an audio book or a film, or allow extra time on video games. Screen time rules are important, but exceptional times call for exceptions. The same applies to making a mess. If finger paint art on the floor means an hour of efficient work time, chill and clean up later.

5. Take a small break together

Make your coffee break into a book break (with coffee) and read to your child without distractions. After lunch, pop into the park or play a game of balloon tennis. After dedicated mummy or daddy time, the child might even play a moment on their own, while you get on with your work.

Most importantly, remember that it’s much easier to give these tips than it is to follow them. Right now deadlines will be missed and nerves will be frayed in every family, even the very happiest. So, let’s give ourselves and each other a break, and stay well!

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