Tips For Juggling Work and Parenting
Remote work is more prevalent than ever before since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down offices. For many people, home has become the workplace, and separation between work and family no longer exists. This is especially true for working mothers, who disproportionately manage children and the household while also working full time compared to fathers.
Now that children are back in school, some of the stress has lifted off work-from-home parents – but for parents of younger children, or parents who are still working at home once their kids get home from school, there are ways to make it easier on everyone. Read on for Perfectly Nanny’s best tips for working from home with children!
1. Schedule Time With Your Kids
When you’re working from home, your children will know you’re there and may not understand why they can’t have your attention. Kids, especially young ones, have a hard time understanding the concept of work when they see you at home where you’re usually their parent. Many work-from-home parents may not have childcare, so sometimes the only option is multitasking. But even then, it is worth taking scheduled breaks to focus only on your children.
Being there is great, but children crave attention and engagement. According to a study reported by the New York post, “78% of parents have had their child say the parent is not fully engaged when spending time together”. When they don’t have your full attention, they notice. Fifteen minutes of undivided attention a few times throughout your workday will let them know that they are still a priority, even while you’re working from home. By making time with them a set part of your daily schedule, they’ll learn quickly that they can count on you being available to them at certain points throughout the day…and maybe have an easier time getting by when you aren’t available.
2. Ease Up on Some Rules
Many of the rules, boundaries, and guidelines you set for your children are a product of what you believe is best for your children and what works best for your family. Of course, some rules are non-negotiable in households and families, but bending some to suit changing or difficult situations can make things easier on everyone. Do you usually allow some screen time at night? Try shifting the allowed screen time to a block during the day when you know you’ll be busy and your kids can be easily (although temporarily) distracted or entertained.
Do your children obsessively ask for snacks? They may be doing it for attention, but try having healthy snacks available for them to take on their own. Sometimes children will fixate on what they can’t have, but when it’s offered to them unrestricted and the temptation fades, they might happily go find something else to do.
3. Plan Activities In Advance to Use When Needed
As a working parent, whether you work at home or outside the home, planning daytime or after-school activities for your children can seem unrealistic if not impossible. Self-guided and imaginative play is great for kids, but any parent knows that sometimes kids just aren’t into it. If playing without guidance just isn’t in the cards, it can be a lifesaver to have some quick and easy activities available to get them through the rest of your workday. Try having these things on hand for when you’re in a pinch:
- A new coloring book with crayons, markers, or pencils: Uncolored pages with new coloring utensils is always a hit.
- An “around the house” or “in the yard” scavenger hunt: This can be made in minutes by printing a list (for reading children) or pictures (for non-reading children). Hand them their list, a marker, and a bag or bucket, and send them on their way!
- An easy craft: Have some beads and string? Have them make necklaces. Have some paper plates, markers, construction paper scraps, and glue sticks? Cut some eye holes and have them make masks.
Crafts and activities don’t have to be fancy to be fun, and kids can get creative with things that may be considered junk, clutter, or even trash around the house.
4. Be Honest With Your Children
It can be tempting to say things like “I’ll be right back “ or “in five minutes” to keep your children happy, but continuously putting them off with false timelines or promises for the day will start to backfire as they begin to realize that your statements aren’t accurate. Establishing boundaries is important for maintaining a productive workday, and sometimes those boundaries need to involve your children. If your children are asking for your attention but you won’t be available for hours, be honest. By telling the truth and letting them process it, they’ll begin to have an easier time understanding when you really will “be right there” and when they will have to do without you for a while — and that can make your working from home easier on everyone.
5. Be Honest With Your Employer
This can be a hard one – we’ve all had a tough couple of years with changing work environments, and most people understand that employees and coworkers working remotely may be sharing space and time with children. Even though that’s the reality, parents often feel like a burden to the team or not committed enough to the job if they indicate the need to work around children.
This mentality is outdated as people are finding ways to be more productive than ever while working around children, and it benefits everyone involved for you to be honest about your situation and find the best ways to make it work. For example, If your boss or team always schedules meetings at the exact time your children get home from school and demand snacks, simply explain the situation and see if the timing can be shifted. It may not be movable, and in that case, at least you asked. But it’s also very likely that shifting the time is not a problem at all, and your coworkers might be relieved to have your full attention and less background noise. At the end of the day, if you are working at home with children, an employer that won’t adapt or who wants to pretend that nobody has families probably won’t be a great fit long term anyway.
6. Find A Great Nanny
Arranging for the right childcare is essential when you work from home. There are a host of challenges that come with working from home with children, and even more if it’s a new transition. It may be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. Whether you need someone for 10 hours or 40, bringing someone into your home to care for your children is a major decision. If you know you’ll need to find a nanny, Perfectly Nanny is the best nanny company to match a caregiver with your needs – we offer nanny reviews, collect information about your schedule and family needs, and match you with suitable candidates. We can help with finding a long-term nanny, an occasional date night babysitter, or even a one-time babysitter fast.
Contact us at Perfectly Nanny to start the search for your next nanny or babysitter today!
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