[su_note note_color=”#ffffff”]This is a sponsored post in partnership with a brand we’ve ordered from for YEARS, Bed Bath & Beyond. All thoughts and opinions are always 100% our own.[/su_note]While I haven’t always had SIX kids at home, schooling three of them in different grade levels, keeping a three year old entertained and nursing twins WHILE working from home, Chris and I have both worked from home or out of our home for the past nine years. We don’t always have it all together, but I do have some tips for staying on task while logging in those hours working with kids at home. Pants optional.Okay, maybe not that last part. I mean, whatever keeps you at your best. It does feel strange to get dressed when you’re not headed out the door and I pretty much LIVE in “comfies”, but there is certainly something to be said about changing out of pajamas and sliding into clean clothes. Have a few sweater lounge sets, great tops and house shoes ready to go and you’ll be conquering your day in no time.
Working From Home With Kids
Get Started Early!
Love that feeling of crossing something off of your to-do list? There’s nothing more motivating (at least to my Type-A personality) than to see those strikethroughs on the day’s tasks. Depending on your kid’s schedules, getting a project started early on can help you keep up the momentum during the day while working with kids at home. I like to pour a cup of coffee and dive into a task on my to-do list before the house is buzzing. Then I’m able to take a break to make breakfast and get the rest of the house started on their day… and I don’t fall into a sluggish morning fog or feel like I’m falling behind when taking care of everyone else.
Whatever wake time makes you feel your best is fine, just have a “hard-start” time to your workday… just like you would when headed into work.
Don’t Skip Your Morning Joe
Speaking of coffee, if you’re used to stopping by your favorite coffee shop on the way to the office, you don’t have to totally miss out (and I don’t recommend it while working with kids home). Bring your favorite drink with you to your at-home office. Pinterest is rife with a plethora of the best copy-cat recipes and you can find ideas for any drink you like!
In fact, keep all of your morning java supplies together to streamline the process and makes it easier for you to make it happen. We love our Nespresso machine and it never fails to give us the perfect shot of espresso for my specialty drinks, or a smooth flavored cup of coffee. Another thing I can’t live without? Our Breville® The Milk Cafe frother. It helps me get that perfectly frothed cup every time… and my kids love a good hot chocolate with it for an afternoon treat too!
Making sure you get your usual caffeine fix is essential to maintaining your usual equilibrium while working with kids at home.
Make it Hard on Yourself to Fall Down the Social Media Rabbit Hole
As it is we live in the age of distractions. We have multiple social media streams, emails, Netflix, and now add in extreme stress, Slack, Zoom, and working with kids at home.
There is no wonder people are having a challenging time.
My first recommendation is to NOT go on social media first thing when you get up in the morning. This can be all it takes to pull you in and lose your momentum. It can even make you “late for work.”
Log out of accounts or turn off all notifications. Even better turn off your web browser if you can.
Implement time blocking for your social media, email checking, and video watching. We will talk about this in more detail in a bit.
Choose a Dedicated Work Space
You might be finding yourself new to the work-from-home lifestyle (especially working with kids at home) or just haven’t found the right dedicated space yet, but pick a spot and clear it off. Declutter. Gather your supplies. Being prepared helps immensely.
For me, though I’ve been working from home for quite some time, my workspace is still our dining room table! AND we still have family dinner at the dining table every night.
How do we make it happen?
Find creative storage solutions to pack away the work day.
The easiest way is to grab a stylish and functional basket (you’ll need something sturdy, but I wanted it purdy too 😉 ) to drop all of your work essentials at the end of the day, yes, even your laptop, and stash it to the side so that you can reclaim your shared family space for just that… family.
We love these round baskets with handles from Bed Bath & Beyond for keeping office goods when the workday is done. I also have a second of these baskets that I stash away everyone’s electronics for the day as well.
Now that the kids are all home for school, we’ve got more materials and supplies spread across the table during the day and the need for even more storage at the end of the school day. We’ve always enjoyed having a bench for the kids to sit at alongside our DIY farmhouse table, but now we’ve added this Laredo Storage Bench so that once our kiddos are done with school books and pencil boxes, they can drop all of their goods in their bench and it’s out of the way for the rest of the night!
[su_note note_color=”#ffffff”]Feel like adding these storage solutions or at-home-coffee-shop must haves? Just order online from Bed Bath & Beyond for quick and easy door-step delivery![/su_note]
Plan Meals With Kids at Home
It might sound strange to include this as a tip for working from home, but think about it… when you go to the office, do you have a pantry and refrigerator full of food to graze on all day long? It can be easy to skip meals, or on the contrary never stop eating, when you’re in a work from home situation. And this is even more important when you’re working with kids at home with you as well. They thrive on structure and a timeline (and it’s a great way to help them learn to read time as well!), so having a set breakfast, snack and lunchtime is beneficial for more productive work times and getting in essential break times, too.
Our busy family’s secret sauce? Our “Let’s Start Fresh” meal planning free printable for WEEKLY, simple meal plans!
Time Block Your Work at Home Schedule
Schedule. Schedule. Schedule.
If you want to be able to have scheduled time to work you have to have a schedule for your children—and keep to it. You will want a known flow of the day. Start with a solid wakeup time, breakfast, schoolwork-time, snack, more schoolwork-time, outdoor play, lunch, and more schoolwork time.
Follow up with an afternoon snack and more outdoor play. I like to make lunch while they are outdoors for their morning break. This makes it a lot less stressful.
I use the time when they are engaged outdoors, on digital learning platforms, or having screen time to work.
If you are lucky enough to have a spouse, partner, or grandparent in your home plan for blocks of time that one adult is responsible for managing the children and rotate. This could be anywhere from a 30 minute block up to a 4-hour block. But sharing the responsibility relieves the burden and stress.
And if all else false use your flextime. Work in the evening while children are watching a movie, having silent reading time, or have gone to bed.
The key factor is to have a plan.
Give Yourself and Your Schedule a Break When Working With Kids at Home
Taking breaks, even just five minutes together to breathe, enjoy a tasty snack, some fresh air or a quick stretch can be just the thing to reset everyone’s mindset. And also, give yourself some grace too. There is no such thing as perfect balance… but you can choose to have fluid priorities throughout the day, focus on what that is during that time, and give yourself a break on the rest.
Working With Kids at Home Means Flexibility
I can’t emphasize enough how going into working with kids at home needs a plan, and some fun too. Thinking about possible problems before they happen is way less stressful than reacting to them. Have your goals, and let kids set theirs too, and then celebrate with each other as you achieve them (even if it’s not the entire list). Through it all remember, a few little smiles and laughs make such a big difference!
I hope these tips help you survive working with kids at home during this challenging time but even more than that… my hope is that it helps you live your best life after, too.
Having a plan from the moment you get out of bed is going to save you so much time. Knowing what to expect can relieve questions, doubt, and stress for both you and your children. And your children will thrive.
Keep in mind that you are creating a flow of the day so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t stick to the plan every day. Be kind to yourself. Forgive your failures and celebrate your successes.
And allow for the unpredictable.
If you like this post you might also want to read Balancing Work and Family: the Juggle Struggle.
Are you working with kids from home? Let me know in a comment below!