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5 Effective Tips for Balancing Work and Kids at Home

How to stay on track with work and be the ultimate parent.

Mom working on laptop while daughter eats breakfast
Working from home with kids.

At a time where social distancing is of the utmost importance, many employees have been asked to work remotely, and many schools have closed forcing kids to learn from home.

While this may not seem like a bad idea, many parents are finding it challenging trying to balance the demands of work life and home life with their kids at home too. This is definitely a step up from the one off days of "working from home because a kid is feeling unwell".

The trick is to take it day by day, seeing what works best for your schedule and your household as well. Here are 5 effective tips to help parents balance work and kids at home.

1. Create schedules

Fun print calendars
Stay organized with schedules.

Put your kids first and create a schedule for them. Create a schedule that is similar to a normal day of school for your child. Ensuring that they follow a routine will not only keep them busy but also make your life a little more organized. Having a routine to stick to is healthy and motivating for everyone.

Schedule times for the kids to:

  • Wake up

  • Eat breakfast

  • Learn/work on assignments

  • Eat lunch

  • Relax/nap

  • Do something creative/fun

As soon as you have their days organized you can plan your work schedule accordingly. Use the kids downtime as time to complete your own work, and relaxation or nap times to hop on business calls. Of course, it's important to be flexible during this time as a work call won't wait around for your child's nap time.

2. Communication is key

Video call between two coworkers
Comunicate via video chat.

Communicate with everyone, your kids, your boss, your coworkers. If you have a busy day ahead of you or video calls that you need to take, let your kids know that they might need to be a little quieter during that time. Having that open communication with your children will teach them and benefit them in the long run.

When it comes to work life, be transparent with your coworkers. Your work schedule and needs may be shuffled around now that you're working from home and taking care of the kids. Create a new work schedule or let your team know when the best times are to contact you. Come to an agreement on what will work best for everyone. This could mean more frequent video calls or fewer meetings altogether.

3. Set boundaries

Woman working on laptop
Working hard in home office.

With communication, comes setting boundaries for your young ones. Sometimes telling them you've got important work to do will not be enough for them to understand.

To get some private time, it might be helpful to allow them to watch more TV or play more games to keep them busy. However, make sure they understand that it is a special occasion and not to make a habit out of it.

Setting boundaries may be a little trickier with younger ones in the house. Try making it into a fun activity by encouraging them to make "stop" and "go" signs for your office door. Teach them that when their "stop" sign is on your door they cannot come in, and when the "go" sign is up they are free to walk in. Having a physical sign on the door acts as a better indicator than telling them you need private time.

4. It's OK to take breaks

Mom hugging her daugher
Spend time with the kids.

You might feel pressured to overwork yourself because you are working from home, but remember to take breaks as well. In fact, taking a 10 minute break here and there can actually help refocus and re-energize yourself. If you're feeling stuck or unmotivated, grab a snack, or check up on your kids.

If you are on a tight deadline you may not have the freedom to take periodic 10 minute breaks, but don't forget to take that lunch break. Refuel and restart with a fresh mind and you will feel 10 times more productive.

At a time like this with kids needing attention as well, speak up if you need to take 30 minutes to check up on your kids. Let your coworkers know, and they will be sure to understand and accommodate.

5. Share responsibilities

Dad reading a book to his baby
Share storytime.

If you and your partner are both working remotely, know that you are not alone. Alternating shifts with your partner on responsibilities around the house and with the kids can make working from home a lot easier.

Split up the tasks and have one person make sure the kids are on schedule in the morning, and the other tackling the tasks in the afternoon. Alternate the shifts and find what works best for your and your partner. If switching shifts is not an option make sure you are staying on top of that strict schedule to maximize your time in the day.

Balancing a work life and home life can be difficult, but with the right steps it can be done. If you're short on time and looking for a way to clean the house with minimal effort, try these 8 Lazy Cleaning Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier.


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