Working from home is packed with potential distractions, especially if you have babies and toddlers in the house. Even when you have a babysitter, little ones can make it difficult to stay focused. It takes work to juggle the two roles; however, the right strategies can help you be a present parent and productive professional.
Boundaries are essential for the work-at-home parent; they let the rest of the family know when and how to interact with you during work hours.
- Create a separate workspace. A spare bedroom is ideal, but you can choose any quiet spot in the house. Let kids know that this is a private, adults-only workspace.
- Set up signals. Small children don’t always respect boundaries, but you can make it easier by establishing signals. One possibility is, “if the door is locked, Mom is in a meeting; if it’s unlocked, you can come in.”
- Designate working hours. A predictable schedule sets expectations for your kids, so they don’t have to wonder when you’re available.
Keep Special Treats in Reserve
After the chaos of 2020, many companies are offering more flexibility for parents. However, some situations – client calls and mission-critical Zoom meetings – demand your complete attention. Keep the little ones quiet and engaged with special activities:
- Put on a movie or TV show
- Ask a favorite relative or friend to babysit
- Set up games on the phone or tablet
Align Professional Priorities with Your Schedule
When you’re working from home with kids, you become a master at finding pockets of productivity – early morning, naptime, or when your partner comes home from work, for example. Make the most of these times by prioritizing your to-do list. Tackle the high-value tasks when the house is quiet; then, you can handle low-concentration jobs when the little ones are around.
As a remote-working parent, accept that you can’t do everything. Some affordable ways to ease your burden:
- Hire a housekeeper for deep cleaning
- Bring in a babysitter and work at a coffee shop for a few hours per week
- Pay a neighborhood teen to mow the lawn or shovel snow
- Ask a friend or family member to take the kids for an afternoon
- Take time for yourself while your partner cares for the children
Find a New Job or Career
After working from home and taking care of your baby or toddler, you may find your job simply doesn’t fit your situation. When that’s the case, it’s worth your time to find a position with more flexibility.
If you’re changing careers, a new degree can make you more marketable, and for parents, online programs are often the most realistic option. They enable you to move through the material in your own time, all without giving up your income or time with your children. Online business colleges are particularly well-suited to remote learning and can give you the skills to move into remote-friendly positions, such as marketing and project management.
Successful Remote Work with Small Children
Working from home and raising children isn’t always easy, but with the right strategies and boundaries, it’s possible to balance your career and your family. If your or your children are struggling with the transition, contact Amanda Robinson, LPC-S, RPT for therapeutic support.
Image via Unsplash.
Written by: Janice Russell
Janice Russell believes the only way to survive parenthood is to find the humor in it. She created Parenting Disasters so that parents would have a go-to resource whenever they needed a laugh, but also to show parents they aren’t alone.