How many people dream of working from home? Going to work, if you manage to get yourself a job, is stressful. You have to either pay for fuel for your car, or you have to join commuters on buses or trains. Working from home is a dream come true for many since it means you can finally put those days behind you; no commuting, no distractions in the office, no awkward moments with your co-workers. Working at home means you get to do your work in peace, yes?
Not so for parents. It can be fantastic working from home and being able to set your own hours and breaks while helping you feel more productive about your work ethic. But there is a downside if you are a parent working from home – children. Children need parents constant care and attention at all times. They don’t give a thought about your working time, they don’t care about what you are doing in the slightest, and they are too young to realize you might be too busy to give them a cuddle or to play with them while they show off what they can do.
How can you work from home while your kids demand your time? Fortunately, there are some fantastic tactics you can use to find a balance between your work and from your kids. Here are some tips on working from home when you have kids there.
Communicate with your partner/spouse
Let them know when you’re going to be working at home in your office, and find out what their plans are so they can keep the kids away so you can work. If they’re there looking after the kids, and you have a deadline to focus on, make sure that they know about it so they keep the children away so you can work. If you have a day where your workload won’t be as strenuous, then you can tell your partner they can expect your time with the children. If it important that you communicate with them about what your day is going to be like.
If you’ve got an important call, make sure there is a visible sign on the door that your partner or your hired help can see so they don’t disturb you. Even some children eventually get the hint with patient teaching.
Some work-at-home parents do hire babysitters to take the strain off them and give them an extra pair of hands which can make all the difference, especially when you focusing on your work. Keep in mind hiring a babysitter or a nanny to help can be expensive – some can expect an hourly pay of $20 per child. Fortunately, there is another way, by asking a friend, family member or a neighbor that you explicitly trust to help you, particularly if they have children of their own. Alternatively, you can find other work from home parents and work with them to find ways of watching your children.
Ah, nap time
Many young children nap regularly. If you’ve got kids that sleep for hours then take advantage of the time they are asleep – you can get a good few hours of uninterrupted work sorted out to focus. Just remember – use moments like this to focus on urgent tasks which require your complete attention. You can call those you need to speak to, work on a more challenging project when your children are sound asleep, so then you can focus on the more less challenging tasks when they’re up and about. If you have children that are too old for having naps, make them have “quiet play time” at the same time every day. You can have a special box of toys or books that come out during quiet play time, and the limited time they come out keeps your children interested instead of making them bored. Unfortunately, be prepared for moments where your plans will not go the way you’d hoped. Try to be flexible. There is a possibility you will need to work late at night.
Desk near the kids
Some parents who work from home actually have their workroom as close to the children as possible, believing the noise won’t distract them so they can concentrate. However, most work at home parents will want to have a space dedicated to them and they won’t tolerate interruptions. If you don’t have a partner, this can be a problem since there won’t be anyone to provide primary care for the children. You will need to find a way to be flexible – take your computer with you and work from a standing desk where your children won’t be able to damage your computer. Learn to work at different times throughout the day if this happens. In some cases, you may have no alternative but to have your children with you in the office. Just make sure they have something to do at a desk around their size- provide them with paints, toys, books. This might not be practical for you, but it can buy you more time since it will make your kids feel important as they’re near you.
Arts and Crafts
It can be a lifesaver if you give your kids something artistic to do. Give them paints, materials for art – pipe cleaners, straws, scissors, paper, paint, pens, marker pens, pencils and crayons. This will keep your children occupied. All you need to do is tell them to do something with artistic products to give them something meaningful to do.
It is possible for children to learn you will be busy. Make sure, before you start working from home, there will be moments you will be busy. It’s best to do this – otherwise, they will scream and shout at you when you’re on the telephone. If that happens – well, your work colleagues might assume something has happened, but children learn through repetition, and you can do this to teach your children what they can and cannot do. Play pretend with them to make this clear to them. Figure out what your tasks are and then act them out, set a strategy for what they’re to do if the door is closed, when the phone is ringing, etc.
Give your children time
Don’t forget you need to spend time with your children – play with them, read stories to them and cuddle them. Some work from home parents take time off from their work, and then use that time to give your children attention – it does help, they’re more than likely to break into your room at a busy moment when you are focusing on the work for attention. The best thing to do is to spend nearly 20 minutes with them.