Working from home is a coveted privilege for most people. The idea of waking up and walking to your office, not worrying about dressing up or beating traffic is so liberating. However, when you have to work from home with kids, it can present more challenges because you have to find a balance between working and taking care of your children.
As a single mom to twins, I decided to quit my job and work from home because I could not afford daycare. For the longest time, I worked 60+ hours while being a full-time single mom. During this time, I had to find ways to get work done while still caring for my children because I had no nanny or babysitting.
5 Tips On How to Work From Home With Kids
1 – Meal Prep Ahead Of Time
Meal prepping has been such a time saver for me. Being able to have meals prepared ahead of time makes it easy for me to feed my kids without stressing about preparing their meals.
I can’t tell you how many times I have stressed out over what they would eat while on a deadline or a tight schedule. In those times, I always wished I had prepared meals ahead of time. So I had to wise up and start meal prepping frequently.
The other benefit of meal prepping is that it allows you to eat healthily and consume the nutrients you need. Sometimes we get so busy caring for our children that we forget ourselves. When you meal prep, you allow yourself to be prepared so that when business strikes, you aren’t left looking around for what to eat, resulting in junk food consumption.
2 – Keep Your Kids Busy
It’s so much easier to work from home when your kids are napping or distracted. Find ways to keep them busy when they are up so you can concentrate on work. Create a space in your home for them, preferably away from your work location. That way, you won’t be easily distracted by their noises. I just created a play area for my boys so they can have their own area to play in. It’s in a location where I can see them so I know they are safe but far enough that it gives me space so I can still work.
When I was working two jobs, one full-time Mon – Fri and another during the weekend, I would keep my kids occupied during the times I was working and take care of them as quickly as possible when I was on break or lunch. My boys were so well behaved that it made it a lot easier for me to keep the two jobs. During the weekend, from Fri – Sun, I work overnight so my mom usually watches them at that time.
3 – Create a Schedule and Follow It
It’s so important to have a schedule you follow. Having a routine and schedule will allow you to stay on task and anticipate the next activity that needs to take place. Create a weekly and daily schedule every Sunday and take into account all the activities that will take place that week.
If you are a single mom with no support and you have to follow a 9-5 schedule, plan to take care of your kids during breaks and lunch. This time can be used to put them to their nap, play area, or feed them.
It’s always good to plan ahead and try to control your day as much as possible. Of course with kids, you can’t always control everything. But you can take steps to ensure that you have as much control of your day as possible.
4 – Get Help
It is nearly impossible to work from home with kids without help. I would recommend getting some assistance to help you so you can focus on work. I have tried to do it on my own and it is so overwhelming and tiring. Being with your kids all day while you work can cause a lot of unnecessary stress.
For me, I had no choice. I could not afford a nanny or daycare because I was only counting on my income and even though my family was there and offered support, I felt as though I had imposed on them enough that I didn’t want to do it anymore.
There were days, however, where my mom would offer to take the kids the whole day while I worked and that was really beneficial. If you can afford it, I would recommend you get a nanny to stay with you while you work so that you can focus on your work.
The truth is that during quarantine, you may not be able to get a nanny so you will have to figure out how to keep them entertained while you do your job.
5 – Use Your Mornings and Evenings Wisely
Create a morning and evening routine that you can follow. Morning and evening routines are really beneficial because they allow you to set the stage for the day–how it starts and how it ends. Create habits that will help you be more prepared for the day and add these to your morning routine.
For my morning routine, I always make sure that I wake up at least 2hrs before my kids wake up which allows me to take care of things and have some me-time before they’re up. I also make sure to have food ready for the day. When my twins were breastfeeding, I would ensure that their milk was in bottles ahead of time and that their food was set so that I didn’t have to worry about preparing the food while I was working.
I also made sure that I placed dishes into the dishwasher after breakfast and throughout the day so that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed at night. If I didn’t clean my apartment the night before, I would do a morning cleaning to get things in order for the day.
For my evening routine, I made sure to do some cleaning to make things easier the next day. The most important task for me has always been ensuring that the dishes are in the dishwasher and the kitchen is slightly clean if not all the way clean. This just makes it so easy the next morning.
I hope you are staying safe and sane during this time. Let me know some of the ways you manage to work from home and be with your kids.
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