Working from home can be hard enough to begin with—there’s always the temptation to load up the dishwasher, do some laundry, or just play with the cat or dog—but if you have kids, the distractions multiply exponentially! You don’t have to resign yourself to low productivity while you wait for the office to re-open, you just need to work smarter. Check out these tips to help you make the most of your work from home time, so you can enjoy more quality time with your kids and spouse! (Or maybe just treat yourself to a quiet glass of wine, a book, and an hour alone… We all need a break from the togetherness every once in a while.)
Work from Home Tips for Parents
Teach them to fish.
If your kids are old enough to safely get themselves food and water, they should be doing that. Make it easier on everyone by creating “snack stations.” For instance, devote a drawer in the refrigerator to healthy snacks the kids can grab when they’re hungry, like pre-cut fruit, cheese sticks, apple sauce, or lunch meat. You can even create your own Lunchables-inspired snack kits by portioning a few items out into snack bags ahead of time, like this mom/work-from-home legend suggests. A pitcher of water and kid-friendly cups located in an accessible place will also keep your kids hydrated without interrupting you every hour for water.
Set clear boundaries.
If you have a home office and your kids are able to be left alone for short periods of time, going into a room and shutting the door is the best case scenario. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible, but you can still create some boundaries. For instance, you may want to commandeer the dining table during business hours. Instead of just telling your kids to stay out of the area (good luck with that), set up areas to keep them focused on other activities. Set up the coffee table or the desk in their room with all of the computer and school supplies they need to do their work. You can also create areas for other activities, like a drawing area with paper and colored pencils, or a reading area with pillows.
Keep them entertained.
It’s hard enough to deal with bored kids in normal circumstances, but when you’re trying to have a meeting or respond to emails, there’s nothing you want to hear less than “We’re bored!” Nip boredom in the bud by creating a system that your kids can use when they don’t know what to do. This activity board is a fantastic idea and you can easily customize the cards to fit your family. Include chores (make bed, put away laundry), quiet activities (reading, drawing, listening to music), and physical activities (bedroom dance party, practice yoga, take the dog for a walk, play tag with siblings outside).
We hope these tips help you survive until the coronavirus restrictions are lifted! It helps to have something to look forward to, so think about what you’ll do when you’re able to go out normally again. A visit to the skating rink never sounded so good.