“I am going to get SO much work done once my kids are in school!”
^ Past me. When I had 2 kids under 3, a newly launched photography business & a schedule that was anything but scheduled.
I worked from home for 7 years (and I will tell you – it did get a bit easier once my boys were in school!) before going full-time at a digital marketing agency.
It’s been a year since I quit the agency and while working from home isn’t new to me – the coronavirus lockdown has things looking a lot different.
I won’t say I am an expert at working from home with kids, but I thought it might be helpful if I share what I am doing to cope and manage my time.
I also asked a few fellow creatives to chime in on their best tips for working from home with kids.
Lets check their advice first shall we.
Income Stream Strategist, Erica H Vincent shares:
Have a family meeting to discuss today’s goal the discussion will include:
* What you’re tasks are for the day
*When your break (and there) break time is & and lunch time
*How to communicate with you while working
*Share your work calendar with them so they will know what time(s) you will be on client calls or live or training etc
*and what you need from them (especially if you’re going live)
* It may be a good time to go live while they are reading or while they are in the background on break/recess this gives you 15-25 of uninterrupted time
*let them use their phones during their school/learning break and you will DEFINITELY get uninterrupted time to go live lol
Mary Angelini from Key Moment Films shares:
Kid-Free Zone: Have a dedicated space to work. Generally speaking, having boundaries for children with working parents is a must, especially when home and work is one in the same. I work from home 3-5 days out of the week so our twins are very aware that they are not to come to our home office already. It’s a children free zone, they aren’t allowed in the space- ever.
Having clear boundaries is key. Even if you’re not working, the space should be off limits to kids. Set up some rules, like the only thing you can come to me for is in an emergency (assuming you have another caregiver in the house).
Set out guidelines to what an emergency is. “someone is bleeding” for example.
It may be hard at first to keep the boundaries, it’s the parent’s job to keep the boundaries, not the children’s. Post the rules on the fridge, remind them of the rules daily when heading to “work” and do not give into interruption when the rules are broken.
Now that home, school and work is all under one roof, it’s vital to be consistent.
Create a school/learning schedule (for moms with school age children) So many free structured learning platforms, I’ve been using Khan for years
Prepare lunch during breakfast time (trust me you will thank me)
Have designated time for lunch – and try to adjust your schedule to have lunch with them – such a rare moment!
Have them get up and start their day like normal, bathroom stuff, make bed, get dress, breakfast, etc
Sharon Hoyt shares
Here we are finding ourselves working from home. To some, this may be a dream come true and to others you have to learn a delicate balancing act of getting stuff done, dealing with kids, and finding a whole new schedule.
Then on top of it you have a pandemic happening, stress from that, and really just the reality of learning to live a slower life from our usual busy crazy ones. So what do you do? Here are some tips that I found after several weeks working at home with two toddler boys (yes, it is as crazy as you imagine!)
Tip 1 have a schedule
I took a piece of paper and wrote out a basic schedule for us to use. Rather than being detailed I did it in chunks of time. For example 7 to 9 in the morning is our morning routine and that includes breakfast, getting dressed, morning journaling, etc. if you have kids I highly recommend creating a couple chunks of time throughout the day where it’s no TV time. My motto has been create, play, learn. So any activities that we do during this time will be in those three themes and I try to rotate it.
Tip 2 have grace
Have grace: Not even with your schedule but also with yourself and others right now. This is a hard time and it can impact us more than we realize. There will be days when you just need to relax, or days that you need to go for a run to get all the anxiety out, and days where you need to be intentional about reaching out to people and other days she may just need to be by yourself.
There’s no right answer for how we navigate this. The biggest focus is having grace with yourself and being intentional and true to your needs.
Tip 3 designate work
If you haven’t already, designate a workspace and work times. Even if you don’t have a space in your house to be at the office, find a place that will be where you work. Mine is in the corner of our kitchen table that I know I sit down at certain times a day and get stuff done.
Work with your employer to determine what the expectations are for you so that you can know what to work on and feel good about what you’ve accomplished.
Tip 4 enjoy this time!
I know this probably sounds counterintuitive but it’s been on my heart so much lately. This is such a unique time in the world and my prayer has been used for good at some level in the end. We’ve been given a gift for time and slowing down and being able to breathe.
All of society’s systems and expectations have decreased and it’s allowing us to find ourselves again, spend time with our families, be quiet, learn New things, and hopefully find some moments of laughing in all of this.
Shannon Hoyt is a Missions minded mama, self care and healing of your soul advocate, lover of the beach, and an Enneagram 8w7. You can find her services and resources at www.shannonhoyt.com
Now my turn to share some tips that are working for me.
Have a Flexible Schedule During Quarantine
So many fellow entrepreneurs are suggesting to get on a schedule as much as possible. I have struggled with this one to be honest, but I make sure I am productive and get the main tasks done throughout my day.
Now that the kids are back to school virtually, they will be more on a schedule. I have been assigning them chores so the house is cleaner and also reminding them they can’t eat all day long.
Today was the first day I used an alarm in like 3 weeks, and it felt good to leave the house early. We headed to Target 20 minutes before it opened, and to my surprise, people in line were standing 6 feet apart, and a Target sales guy was telling people what they had and didn’t have. Then we ventured to Walgreens, Winn Dixie, and Publix. I finally found some disposable gloves at Target.
My husband and I both agreed that it felt good to get some things done early and not sleep in so much. So I do need to work on getting on a better schedule at home with both work, kids, and personal time.
Listening to My Body & Mood
I am not sure if I was just in sheer denial at first, but I have been taking a lot of naps. I haven’t been fighting my body and mood; I have been listening to it and leaning in. This has helped me be productive. I don’t mean I am sleeping all the time, but I am just aiming at not overwhelming myself or pushing too hard.
This whole lockdown has given us new eyes and a new appreciation for small things. Things that we may have taken for granted. So I am taking this time to rest more.
This has helped me be productive. I have blogged more in the last 2 months than all of 2019!
Checking my Energy Levels
I have been more in tune with my body and have been taking vitamins as well. I was doing a nutrition program with a local med spa, and I had only 2.5 pounds to reach my ideal weight goal, and now with the lockdown, I am having a hard time not eating carbs and not drinking as much coffee.
So one thing that has been helping me work from home is to cook early. As I stated, these kids are hungry all day long, so I feel if I make one main meal that they can also eat for dinner or lunch the next day helps me a whole lot. I have not started to cook an early dinner to get the cooking out of the way.
This allows me to have more me-time later on the day as well. I want to make sure they are having a hearty meal, so we cook rice, beans, meat, and veggies.
Work At Home Time
I live in a 3 bedroom apartment, and I don’t have an office. I typically use our business center, but that has been closed down due to the Coronavirus. Now I am left with little space and privacy since the 5 of us are home. What helps me is to wake up before everyone else and get a blog post written, or some work is done.
I also use my stepdaughter’s room and desk when I do my FB lives. They know they are not allowed to come in during these important video and recording times.
It is imperative to communicate your expectations so everyone is on the same page. I have older kids, which helps a lot. They don’t need much maintenance, and they do their school work on their own.
We are all feeling a little cooped up, but things could be so much worse. I see what people are going through in third world countries, then I also remember how small the apartment we lived in was before, and I am grateful. When I find myself shifting to negative thinking, I remind myself of these blessings and that it isn’t worse.
Were there any tips on the list you haven’t heard before? Do you have any must hear tips to add? Drop over to my Facebook group – where you can share your work-from-home wisdom & pick up a few more knowledge bombs yourself. See you there!