The best tips for working from home with kidsJan 24, 2021
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This post will benefit you if you are trying to manage working from home with kids and nothing you do seems to be working. Check out these awesome tips from real working moms!
Who could have imagined nearly a year after this pandemic started we would still be discussing working from home with kids? It’s been too many months of working moms desperately trying to manage work, parenting, and other obligations while also keeping themselves (somewhat) physically and mentally healthy.
Working mom advocates like Mindset Mamas are doing whatever we can to keep moms who want to be part of the workforce employed. Unfortunately, so much damage has already been done to this group of fierce women, as they are having to leave their career staggering rate to be home with their children.
It’s obvious there is still so much work to be done to help moms be able to do their jobs effectively while also raising children. So, while this one little article won’t solve the problem, hopefully these tips from actual working moms managing their jobs and kids, simultaneously, will offer some relief.
I’ll admit, my kids are back in daycare full-time. It’s been amazing to have that sense of normalcy during my work day. But I do remember, not so long ago, having my toddler and baby by my side while I tried to work. I documented some of my experience for Sittercity. That three month experience was a mix of so many emotions, as I’m sure it was/is for you, too.
Since I’m (thankfully) not living the “working from home without childcare” scenario right this minute, I talked to several moms within my networking circle who are. Check out their fantastic tips of all shapes and sizes and see what you can adopt today.
Paula A. Madrid, Psy.D., B.C.E.T.S
Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress
“Have grandma or some loving adult or older cousin call at least three times per week at times you know you need help. Buy arts and crafts material and leave [them] in random places so that they find it fascinating and somehow get lost using [them]. My go-to has been air dry clay of all colors. It has worked wonders with my 8-year-old.”
Chief Female Founder, My Pipers
“I have lots of tips but one that I love is the ‘three before me rule’. Based on the age of the child...if they have a question they need to try their three go-to things before they come to Mom. For example, my kids ask each other, then they look at their own library of books, then they Google their question (with major parental setup obviously). This teaches them to be independent learners, amazing researchers, and I have found that it leads to further questions, further discussions and further learning!”
Co-host of Dear White Women
“...prioritizing the big picture of ‘what do I want all of us to remember about this time’ and prioritizing all responses to life accordingly, helped a lot. As in, for me, I prioritized long-term mental and physical health over academic success or material success, and so we created a routine of having the kids come in every 45 minutes during their school breaks (sometimes every 15 minutes, if I'm honest) for a cuddle and hug when virtual school was a drag.”
Beauty, Fashion, and Lifestyle Guru
“I do live TV segments from my basement. The one surefire way to make sure I won’t get interrupted during an important call or TV segment with an “I’m hungry” or “moooommmmm” is to give them screen time. They won’t realize they are hungry or need anything from you until the screen goes off.”
Owner, Navigating Parenthood
“The key for me has been flexibility. I use down time with the kids throughout the day and night to work at my laptop. Creating set office hours and splitting responsibilities with your partner or another family member [that] can watch the kids for you is huge, too.”
Owner, Clover Baby & Kids
“The biggest thing that has helped me is to create a schedule with my five year old. Together, we write down the days' activities/tasks over breakfast so he knows exactly what to expect and when.”
“Include an outdoor activity everyday, rain or shine to manage everyone's energy (even if it is only 30 minutes).Be proud of managing it all and do not feel bad if people hear your kids in the background - It is the soundtrack of 2020-2021!”
Author and Educator
“Establish zones of creativity (that you don't pack away). Curate activities that your child engages with and needs limited input from you. Some ideas:
- Coloring station with markers, crayons, paper, worksheets, etc.
- LEGO or blocks
- Arts and craft corner
- Doll house, kitchen, dress ups
- Tape road (using painters tape) with cars, buildings, and trees”
Find more helpful tips from Cara (that will also guide you in supporting your children’s wellbeing) in her latest article for New York Family Magazine.
Leslie Gracz NASM CPT RRCA cert.
“I would say prep, prep, prep! I do my cooking (ideally) Sunday night so I don't stress about cooking. It usually involves something easy like a baked chicken, roasted veggies and some kind of starch. I also prep and cut up fruit/crudités for lunches. This also prevents mindless snacking when I work.”
Dana Carretta-Stein, M.S., LMHC, LPC, EMDR
Certified EMDR Therapist, CIT
“One of my tips that I’ve been sharing with parents re: working at home with kids is to be compassionate with yourself as a parent. Virtual Learning is hard for the kids AND hard for the parents, which can cause a lot of extra stress and anxiety in an already stressful situation. By demonstrating compassion for yourself as a parent, you remove the need to get things done perfectly, and also have more space to emotionally validate your kids when they get frustrated, too.”
Owner, Rashmi Gill Photography
“Having a schedule so my daughter and I know when we have our own time and then time together [is important]. We have things like osmo, Lego, drawing for those “I’m bored” moments!
Executive Director, Yo Re Mi
“Getting outside with them at some point in the day makes a huge difference. We all need the exercise and I feel accomplished knowing they have moved their bodies and gotten some fresh air. Then it doesn't bother me as much if I need to use some screen time to take a call or handle a work issue. Having quality screen time options is also key. We use PBS Kids games, our Yo Re Mi app and word find games for my oldest.”
Founder, Own Your Wonder
I have a bunch of 20-minutes peppered throughout the day and then 3-4 hours in the evening when I can get work done. So, I start the day with a list of things that can be done in 20 minutes. Surprisingly, there’s quite a few...I also start the day reminding myself of things not to do, such as spending 20 minutes reading useless articles, watching useless videos, or being a sucker for accepting unnecessary Zoom invites.”
“Protect your morning. Whether that be, a skin care routine, journaling, a workout etc, making sure your mindset is right is so important. Then I break up my day as best I can. Having a toddler and a 7 month old baby, I have to be very productive with my time...While my toddler naps, I really get my pocket of work done. I write down my 3-5 top tasks, and focus on those first. [They are the] things I can't do without focusing on my toddler. Be flexible overall. When you're a working mom from home, you have to know it's not going to be the same every day, and there's good days and bad days.”
This new way of life certainly isn’t easy. But if you use some of these tips from other moms working from home with kids, life might seem a little more manageable. And when all else fails, call a friend, eat some ice cream, or even cry it out for a few minutes! You’ll get through it.
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