Young boy being home schooled by his mother, while she is working from home

5 tips for working from home with your kids

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From toddlers to teenagers, working from home when you’ve got kids can be a challenge. Here are 5 helpful tips, when you’re all at home together for balancing work, school and family life.

It’s not easy to concentrate on work if you have kids at home – and even harder to do a conference call if they keep popping up in the background – we’ve all seen what happened to the “BBC Dad”.

However, it can be done – it just takes planning, preparation, and a little cooperation.

1. Set expectations

When you’re working from home, it’s important to set expectations for yourself and your kids. 

Explain that you’ll be working and that they will have to respect your workspace. 

This might include setting up some kind of sign or signal when you can’t be disturbed, such as when you’re in a meeting or taking an important call. 

For older kids, this could be as simple as shutting the door or pulling it ajar. 

If they’re little, sectioning off your workspace behind a baby gate could help. 

It’s also important to manage your own expectations of what you can achieve working from home. Let’s face it, you’ve just been promoted to educator on top of everything else.

Prioritise what needs to get done, and try to be realistic: most likely, the younger your kids are, the more they’ll need you and the noisier they’ll be. 

2. Create a routine

A routine gives everyone in the household structure and direction. 

Break your day up into work times, school times, meal times, and family times, and be sure to incorporate some kind of screen-free quiet time into the day. 

If you’re a morning family, you may like to run through the tasks set by school first thing. That way the kids have your full attention before you start work for the day.  

Before you lock a schedule in, however, it’s important you get your children’s input. Letting them help shape the schedule shows you value their opinion and allows them a sense of ownership over their day. 

Make it visual and hang it up somewhere that everyone in the family can refer to throughout the day.

3. Gather your resources and prep your day

From rationing screen time to prepping meals, you can streamline your workday by being organised. 

Try to prepare lunch and healthy snacks before you start working, and keep them in an easy place where kids can help themselves. 

That way you won’t have to interrupt your working day to be a short-order cook.  

Create a space for their schoolbooks and stationary to help them become independent learners.

For the littlies rotate toys, games and craft activities to keep things fresh – swap out playdough for crayons and paper, for example, to maintain their interest. 

Be selective with screen time and try to save it until later in the day, but also use it as a tool for those critical times you need to be in an important meeting, take a call or get an urgent task done. 

4. Beat the clock

No matter what tricks you might try as you settle into a new work-from-home regime, sometimes the only way to make working from home actually work is to do it when your kids are asleep. 

Whether it’s waking up early or staying up after bedtime, try to adjust your schedule to get your tasks done while your children are in bed so you can spend more time with them during their awake times. 

5. Get active

Finally, take time to be present with your kids for your family well-being. 

Get outdoors and get active to shake off any cobwebs once a day for a walk or bike ride to get them moving.

If the weather isn’t in your favour or you can’t go outdoors, do some yoga or set up a backyard obstacle course, and enjoy spending quality time together.