10 Tips: Working from Home with Kids
I'm sure you've figured out by now it's nearly impossible to get anything done when kids are involved. We love these little monsters and let them steal our hearts but they are a huge distraction when it comes to working from home or trying to run a business from home.
Here are some tips I've developed over the years:
#1. PLAN AROUND NAPTIME AND BEDTIME
This may seem easy enough to assume but kids tend to knock schedules around and do their own thing. Which is why getting anything done with kids home is madness and chaotic.
I have a 4-year-old and an 11-month-old so it seems each day is a new challenge. To combat this scheduling mishap, I keep it flexible. My son (the 4-year-old) is fairly self-sufficient so if he's refusing a nap (the new struggle now) then I set him up in my office with "homework". He loves it!
I plan out little activities to have on hand and to occupy his time. Or I can set him up next to me with educational shows like "SuperWhy" on Netflix. He enjoys just sitting there most days.
#2. TIRE 'EM OUT
What has been working lately is wearing them both out. My daughter is mostly still on two naps a day but if I can plan something for the morning, she won't sleep. Instead, she'll be distracted with whatever we're doing that she stays awake.
After lunchtime, they are both so exhausted that they're ready for a nap. And they take a wonderful nap. Seriously, like 3 to 4 hours straight and AT THE SAME TIME! Which is an extra bonus!
#3. TACKLE ONE TASK A DAY
It's so much easier to check off tasks or goals when you limit them. This means, don't stretch yourself too thin. If you're piling all these different tasks on one day and find yourself overwhelmed, take a step back and re-evaluate your process.
Right now I have a day for everything.
Mondays: My Writing Day - I get drafts written and limit myself to one or two.
Tuesdays: Design Day - This is the day where I get on Photoshop or Illustrator and design my stock photos into pins. Or I use the time to update something graphically in my Wordpress: widgets, themes, customizations, etc.
Wednesdays: Editing Day - I edit my post(s) from content to pictures and even "sign up" forms.
Thursdays: Post Day - Make it public! This is the day when I launch a post and/or schedule to relaunch an old post.
Fridays: Social Media Day - Work with all social media outlets to promote recent posts and my website. I get on Facebook groups and network and post on there too.
Saturdays and Sundays: Outline days - these are the days when I focus on my next weeks' content. I will start writing the outline and/or doing the research.
#4. MAKE TIME FOR FAMILY
If you're a work from home or a working mommy you know how important this is. Sometimes when I have a huge project that needs to get done and my son is pestering me to play with him I have to make a decision. Work or Kids?
I know it can be so stressful to put work on hold but sometimes you have to do that. Children need to know you're there for them and want to play with them. Otherwise, they'll act out to gain your attention because positive or negative, attention is attention. So be sure to give them some.
Now, sometimes my son will come up and complain even though I just played with him for hours. It's also okay to say No and to explain why you have to work right now. I even put the kids in the office with me and set my son up with colors and give him a project. Then I take frequent breaks and "check his work".
#5. ORGANIZE YOUR AGENDA (KIDS VS WORK)
Like many mommies who work remotely, I do not use any childcare service (daycare or family or friends). During the summer the kids are with me all day every day.
It's so important to have things planned out in advance. Tuesdays at most Cinemark theaters are only $5/ticket. Or we'll hit up the Aquarium (I have a membership) or the Science Museum or the splash pad or just take them to the park.
This gets everyone out of the house plus it wears them down so when we get home they take a nice, long nap.
#6. MEET OTHER MOMMIES WHO ARE HOME
We just moved into this neighborhood but already there's a wonderful community of mommies out here. I love it. I even started our own Facebook group so we can get together and plan events, playdates, and fitness routines.
Leaning on others is okay to do and you're not at all a bad mommy.
Sometimes if I have a big project, I call backup. This has only happened twice but it was so nice to have a friend to fall back on.
#7. KEEP THEM ENTERTAINED
Of course, you want to wear them out but sometimes you just can't leave the house. This is when you need to have a backup plan. So have arts and crafts on hand or do a movie day and everyone unwinds.
Here are some great sites with lots of craft ideas:
One day I took my son to DollarTree and we grabbed a couple of baskets, flyswatters, and a pack of balloons. It cost about $5. And we played a balloon basketball game. It was so much fun! After I was too tired to play anymore he wanted to keep going. He stayed in his playroom for another hour.
#8. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Okay, superhero mommy! Yes, you! Take a break for yourself. It's okay to put family and work on hold and focus on yourself. It reduces stress and will keep you sane.
My husband is wonderful and takes the kids to their playroom when he gets home. I usually use this time to get caught up with work or my blog. But sometimes I just want to do something for myself.
I can take a bubble bath and read a novel I haven't had time for. Or go get my nails done. Or just have a glass of wine and hide out in my bedroom with my phone.
Don't worry, my hubby gets his free time too. A couple of times a month his industry in Austin has a "Beer Night". This is the coolest thing and I've only seen it in Austin.
Basically, all these companies, employees, and owners meet at a bar and drink while they network. How awesome is that?
#9. PLAN OUT MEALS
So you've planned out the fun stuff but what about meal time?
Working remotely can give you the opportunity to eat well if you plan out your meals. If meals are planned out then you'll also be less likely to go rummaging through the pantry.
This is also great for when the kids are complaining about being hungry. No worries, mommy's got it covered. This also saves time so you can get back to your daily tasks.
#10. TURN TO FITNESS
When I first started working from home, I gained about 15 pounds in my first 6 months. I was snacking and then going right back to work. Not to mention sitting all day with very little to no exercise.
Remember how I said to wear your kids out? This is the perfect opportunity to get a little workout in. A "killing two birds with one stone" moment.
If you workout while you're already away from your work then you'll be (A) more likely to do it and (B) save time by doing these two things together. Plus having an exercise plan that involves the kids is a great way to bond and make you feel good about yourself.
This woman knows where it's at. Check out her exercises and motivation.
Please share if you like these tips or maybe know of some that have worked for you. I am always open to hearing what you think.