No one can disagree that the pandemic changed a lot of times, including how and where we work. If you've transitioned to working from home and have kids, it can be a lot. You’re balancing meetings with Zoom school, snack time, homework, and trying to stay sane in a less-than-calm home environment.
What’s a working parent to do?
First of all, cut yourself some slack! WFH parents (and working mothers in particular) are more likely to experience burnout. That’s why it’s so important to adjust your day to accommodate work and life—as much as you can, anyway.
Use these 5 tips from fellow parents to preserve your sanity while you’re trying to balance working from home while taking on child-rearing duties.
Wfh with Kids Tip #1 - Use time blocking
Does it ever feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day? We feel you. If you’re working long hours to make up for the chaos during the day, try time blocking during business hours to “make time” for work.
Look at your daily schedule and block out time when you can work. During these time blocks, make sure the kids are cared for like at school, by a partner, by family, by a neighbor, etc. Use this time to tackle high-priority tasks as quickly as possible. Check out the Pomodoro method if you haven’t heard of it before to stay on task during your work block.
After your work block ends, you’re free to jump back into anything else you need to accomplish. (Is that pile of laundry giving me a dirty look?!) By working in 1- or 2-hour blocks with a couple minutes of off-time in between, you can get more work done with fewer interruptions.
Wfh with Kids Tip #2 - Adjust your calendar
Long gone are the days when you could schedule work meetings at any time of day in the office. An 8 AM meeting just won’t work if your toddler needs breakfast or is bouncing off the walls in the background.
WFH with kids means adjusting your calendar according to when your house is the quietest. That might mean scheduling meetings while the kids are napping. Or it might mean waking up early to do your work before your kids wake up or working when they go to bed. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
Wfh with Kids Tip #3 - Work when they’re busy
As schools are opening back up, virtually or in-person, kids are starting to jump back into normalcy just a little. With that normalcy comes responsibilities. Your kids will probably have asynchronous work, live Zoom classes, projects, and homework at any given time.
That means your kids will be engaged and concentrating on their task at hand and not asking for snack number 75 of the day (didn’t they just eat breakfast?) for at least a couple minutes at a time. What better time to get some work done when you know they’ll be busy.
Wfh with Kids Tip #4 - Put the kids to work
Here’s a fun one. If your kids aren’t at school, daycare, or with a relative, you’re stuck trying to balance their needs with your own workload. Put your kids to work around the house! You don’t have to shoulder the entire burden of managing the household. Even if your kids are younger, there are things they can do. For example, Kelly’s 5 year old is responsible for cleaning up his toys every night as well as changing his sheets and dusting once a week. Her 7 year old cleans up his toys, changes his sheets, and empties trash cans or steams the tile floor.
You can purchase Sunshine & Hurricane’s printable chore chart for only $0.99 or download the BusyKid chore app for your older kids to keep them honest. Pick a few age-appropriate tasks for your kids to do while you’re working… it teaches them responsibility and it’s one less thing for you to do later. Win-friggin-win.
Wfh with Kids Tip #5 - Call in the reinforcements
What happens if you need 8 hours of uninterrupted work to prepare for your big presentation? It might be difficult to find that amount of quiet time with kiddos in the house.
But there’s a solution… tap your network and ask for help:
Work with your husband, wife, or partner to divide up kid-watching duties.
Ask your family nearby to watch the kids for a while.
Are you friends with any of your kids’ friends' parents? Well that’s a mouthful but you know what we mean. See if you can have your kids do their homework together at their house!
You can also look for local resources like classes and camps held virtually or in-person by your library, zoo, or children's museum. Our kids love all the free animal arts and crafts from the San Diego Zoo where they color, draw, cut, match, and learn about a bunch of different animals.
If none of these is an option, you can try signing your kid up for virtual classes like Outschool. We discovered it when everything was shut down and it’s been an actual lifesaver. They offer, for a very small fee, virtual classes on almost every topic like dinosaur facts, LEGO building, French immersion, how to cook for Taco Tuesday, and even stock market investing to name a few! Your kids will be so busy enjoying themselves (and bonus, learning something!) that they won’t interrupt your calls.
For ongoing support, there are online programs like ABC Mouse and Adapted Mind that make education fun. ABC Mouse teaches a host of subjects (and current events) based on the grade they are in and throws in some just-for-fun activities to keep kids engaged. They include books, games, and videos that your child can pick from. Adapted Mind focuses on math mostly but offers social studies, and emotional intelligence activities too. Both educational programs progress with the kid as they learn.
The bottom line
The pandemic has made both working and parenting more difficult. “Balance” is a myth for entrepreneurs, small businesses and anyone trying to work a 9-5. Try to finish your work, love on your kids, and do your best. Follow our 5 tips to get as much done as you can while sharing a space with your kids and have them learn something in the process.
Speaking of working from home, have you checked out our blog on tips for home office organization? Or if you’re feeling extra tense with little Johnny running around, we have some easy way to destress without spending a dime.
If you should ever need a helping hand while you work from home with kids, hit us up! Trust Thrive Marketing Consultants to launch influencer marketing, SEO, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, or Google ads to take your business to the next level.