Working from home can be rough, especially if you aren’t used to it. And even more if you have to work from home with kids! But if you really think about it, it shouldn’t be so hard.
I mean think about it. Not many people have the luxury to work from home to begin with. So the fact that you are getting to work from home with kids is a blessing and should really be seen as one.
I know this may seem scary and tough in the beginning but don’t worry. I’ve been there, done that so know a few things that can help you overcome this hurdle.
I too, am blessed that my 8-5 day job allows me to work from home from time to time. I have been doing this for many years now so have already had my fair run of trial and error. Plus, I run my online business from home too so believe me, it’s not as bad as it seems.
So here I’m going to share with you all my best tips and recommendations that have personally worked for me. They will help you stay productive when working from home while keeping your little ones happy as well.
Tips to Work From Home with Kids
Like I said, I’ve been doing this for many years so have learned a thing or two. After lots of trial and error, these are all the best tips to work from home with kids and still stay productive while doing it.
These are in no particular order as it will vary per family. But definitely go through them all so you can start implementing these tips to make your work at home mom days so much easier.
Plan out their activities and things to do
This is easier said than done, I know. Kids are kids so plans don’t always work out. However, it does help tremendously to have a list of kid activities and things to do ready and available. Besides, no one said this was going to be easy.
The luxury to work from home with kids also means there is lots of planning and scheduling involved. Another thing to note is that it helps to know how much time you would like them to spend on each activity. It could look something like this:
– Outside: 1 hour
– Screen time: 1 hour
– Learning activities: 3 hours
– Creative time: 1 hour
After you’ve allocated a certain amount of time to each activity type, jot a list of things they could do throughout the day. Here is a list of kid activities at home to get you started:
– Read kids books
– Get creative with Play-Doh
– Play with games and toys
– Watch TV
– Play video games
– and so much more!
Having a solid list ready will help whenever your child comes up to you to ask “what can I do now?” And believe me, they will come to you… a lot!
Related Post: Summer Activities For Kids To Do at Home
Schedule their snacks and meals
Ohhhh as moms, we know our kids LOVE their snacks. Eating is like one of their most favorite things in the world, am I right? So depending on how many snacks they typically have, schedule this many into their day.
Spread out their snacks and let them know when they will be. This avoids (some) of the constant question of asking when they can have a snack. And of course, make sure to know what snacks to give them or better yet, have them ready.
And while you’re at it, go ahead and schedule their meals as well. Or if you’re pretty busy when working from home, you could also get a kids meal delivery service that sends fresh and delicious meals to your home! I’ve done this and it has saved me so much stress and time during my lunch hour.
So let them know when their snacks and meals are. This way, they can remind you and then feel a sense of control (even though you had it planned). What can I say… we’re always one step ahead LOL!
Related Post: Delicious Kid Friendly Meals for Picky Eaters
Have them help with age-appropriate chores
Yes, kids can do chores too. And no, I’m not saying for them to clean the whole house but they can definitely help tidy up a bit. I mean they live there don’t they?
Plus if you don’t normally work from home with kids, then you can expect your house to get a bit messier than usual. So your house cleaning routine as a working mom would definitely be different than usual.
We have a chores list in the free resource library like the one above created for my son with his chores spread out throughout the week. In addition, he knows there may still be some ad-hoc chores he will need to complete when asked.
By having him help out with chores, it helps keep the house from becoming a big time mess. Plus it helps him learn some responsibility along the way and saves me from having to pick up after him. Hey, no one said that you have to do it all so don’t feel like you have to and get some help.
Related Post: Realistic Cleaning Schedule for Working Moms
Set ground rules with your children
This is probably the most important, yet the hardest working from home with kids tip. I know this seems hard to do because many times, kids don’t want to listen. All they know is that mommy is home which means want all your time is dedicated to them. Trust me, I knowwww!
This is not a one-time task either. In fact, I have to set ground rules with my son DAILY to let him know how the day is going to play out. I mean think about it, you’re not the only one having to get used to the idea that you will now work from home with kids – it’s new to them too.
And I’m not sure about you, but my son loves to know everything and what is planned for weeks to come. “What are we doing today? How about after that? And what are we doing tomorrow?” The list of questions goes on and on… Is your child like that too?
But when I set the ground rules with my son, it helps eliminate this a bit. But because I know this is a bit complex, here are some of the things to keep in mind when setting ground rules:
– Try your best to explain to them why it is important for mommy to work
– Remind your child the night before that you will be working when they awake
– Once your child wakes up, remind them that you are working
– Let your child know when your work will be done for the day
– Tell your child the plan for the day (if they can tell time, give them time estimates)
The point here is that you should give them as many details as possible. As little kids, they want to know EVERYTHING so this will help them understand what’s going on a bit better.
Love (cuddle) with them when they wake up
By the time my son wakes up in the morning, I am usually already working. And did I mention he’s 7? So he’s at that stage where he doesn’t like to cuddle with mommy too much anymore (unless he’s sleepy). So I completelyyyy take advantage of the mornings when he first wakes up and comes the down the stairs while still rubbing his eyes.
I’ll usually take a break from the task I am working on to just cuddle and hold him. I ask him how he slept and if he had any dreams. He usually then goes on to ask me what he’s having for breakfast and what he’s going to do all day. << Perfect time to give them the ground rules!
But when it’s not the summer, of course he knows that it’s time to get ready for school and then this back to school printable calendar really comes in handy.
Notify them when about to take a call
Like I mentioned, you may have to repeat the ground rules more than once throughout the day. This especially includes every time you are about to jump on a conference call (or any call for that matter). The younger your kids are, the more repetition there will be.
I usually have to give my son a brief reminder that goes like this: “hey Dom, mommy is about to get on the phone right now okay? Please don’t come talk to me until I’m done.” I don’t even say “unless it’s urgent” because to them, everything is urgent LOL. I’ll know it’s urgent if I hear loud crying 🤣
Of course this doesn’t mean he doesn’t come bother me (thank goodness for the mute button)! But he does stay quiet-er than usual. This is also the only time he comes to give me the most hugs all day and tells me he loves me in his quiet voice. But hey, I’ll take it haha.
But either way, it’s better than having him yell to me from across the room when I’m in the middle of speaking. So make sure to let them know a few minutes before your call starts and right before you’re about to answer.
Reward them for letting you work
This one is pretty big and it can be temporary. I know every parent has their own opinion on rewarding children for good behavior. I personally do not like nor dislike rewards so have found a good in-between.
When necessary, I will reward his good behavior with a prize. The prize depends on multiple factors (length of time, how often etc.) However, I do eventually ween him off the rewards as he begins to get used to the behavior for which he was rewarded for. I also do let him know in the beginning that he does not need to be rewarded when something is expected of him.
And given the current situation, this is a learning curve for many kids including the parents. You might be new to working from home and much less with your kids. Your kids might also be used to the fact that when you are home, it means your attention is on them.
Therefore, a little push towards what needs to happen moving forward shouldn’t hurt. So reward them for letting you work from home (to the best of their ability), test it out and then go from there.
Take 5-10 minutes breaks to be with them
Kids LOVE and WANT attention, always. Especially from us WHEN WE’RE BUSY! Or is that just my child? 😅
Either way, our kids love spending time with us and crave it every time we are around. They don’t understand why we have other things to do that don’t involve them. It’s just their child mentality.
So to help alleviate this some, I always try to take a few minutes to spend with my son throughout the day. You know how at the office sometimes you find yourself just chit chatting with some colleagues by your desk or in the break area? Well, use that same amount of time to “chit chat” or simply be with your children.
I’ll normally do this 3 times in one day, about 5-10 minutes each time. This is not including the times I have to change his direction on a task or feed him. These 5-10 minutes are time I step away from the online world and either cuddle with him, lay with him, talk to him or read to him. Pretty much any small task that doesn’t require a large amount of time.
He gets that sense of love and a little reminder I haven’t forgotten about him. When time is up, I let him know I have to get back to work and remind him of the remaining ground rules. Repetition is key.
So next time you’re working at home with kids, remember to take a few breaks throughout the day to be with them. You will both feel better afterwards ♥
Related Post: Productive Things To Do At Home While Working
Lay them down for a nap
Yes I know this might be harder for some as many kids don’t like to take naps (mine included). There are some days where I can get him down for a nap and other days where he just won’t.
This tip in particular also worked much better when he was younger and didn’t have to do schoolwork during the day. He also had set nap times scheduled. But regardless, if you can get your child to take a nap, do it! It’ll give you at least an hour of complete silence to work productively.
Let them “work” with you
This one is probably one of the cutest working from home tips and still works to this day. However, I don’t recommend you do it too often or for that long as you may seem to actually become LESS productive. But first, let me explain what I mean by letting them “work with you.”
So depending on your child’s age group, this could be done in two different ways.
So one day, I told him to grab his play laptop and come work with me and so he did loved it! It didn’t last very long but it still reduced the distractions as he was “working” quietly next to me.
The other option is for schoolers, which is what my son is now. He actually does have work to do, whether it’s in a workbook or on the laptop. So in this case, the solution is much easier and lasts way longer. All we do is sit together at my desk and work. Yes, he’ll ask questions from time to time but at least he’s not having to yell across the room asking me to walk over. This way, I’m right by him and can glance over to assist him and then get back to work.
So if you can find a way to do something together but not really together, do it. Your kids just want you to be with them and this is one way on how you can do it.
Related Post: Pros, Cons & Tips to Work at Home
Shut off work on time
Lastly, remember those ground rules you set up? If you recall, part of the ground rules is to let them know when your work day will end. So yeah, they’re going to be counting down the time, especially as the time gets closer.
So in addition to building a solid trust foundation with your children, they will greatly appreciate you being done when you said you would be. And if you keep your word each time, eventually they will leave you alone about it as they won’t feel like they have to remind you.
In my case, I usually add an extra hour of work then when my actual work is complete. The reason for this is because once I shut my work laptop, I jump onto my personal laptop to get some work done on my blog and write things like this for you. But once all that work is done, it’s done-done and both laptops get turned off (until bedtime at least).
So trust me, shut off work on time and you’ll be so happy to see those cute little smiles on their faces when they see the clock turn 5!
You Got This Mama!
Yes, you can do this! Having the ability to work from home with kids is a true blessing so don’t let it scare you or stress you out. Follow these tips to work from home with kids productively, test them out and see if they work for you. And if they don’t, develop new ones that do. Don’t worry, you got this mama!
Have you worked from home before with your kids? What do you like or not like about it? Are there any special tips that have worked for you? Please drop a comment below as I would love to hear from you!