Practical tips for working at home with your children
Amend your work life balance accordingly:
- Start earlier before the children are up
- Work around nap times
- If your children don’t nap, create a “quiet time” after lunch for two hours where they can read, draw or watch a movie, for example. Make this a new routine.
- Break for lunch.
- Exercise with your children in the day.
- Set aside time after dinner to do reflection or reading emails.
Plan for the day ahead:
- Get clothes out the night before.
- Get dressed for the day.
- Try to get up at the normal time for the start of school.
- Make up a packed lunch.
- Have break times.
- Use alarms to highlight the changeover of tasks or time of day.
- Set a daily timetable that the child can own and make decisions about when they need to do things – use a whiteboard or large piece of paper so they can mark their progress off and get a sense of achievement.
- Use pictures and colour-coding to mix days with what they like and don’t like, what will help them to concentrate.
Tips on remaining productive and calm while working from home with children:
- Separate your “workspace” from the rest of your personal space – try to work from a different room so the rest of the household know when you are working. This will also help you “leave” work at the end of the day. If this is not possible, clear your workspace at the end of the day.
- Be extra vigilant when making sure that children cannot hear discussions about your work, particularly if it is sensitive, confidential or potentially distressing. This is particularly relevant if you are carrying out meetings via skype or teleconference.
- Set yourself fewer goals everyday as you won’t be able to achieve as much as you would if the children were not there with you. Do this by being clear on the urgent and important work tasks. Use the Eisenhower box to see what are the priorities to work on.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself – having a daily routine is good to support productivity, yet some days the routine won’t work. Accept this and you’ll feel more productive the next day.
- Enjoy the time you are not working – it can be frustrating trying to work and look after your children at the same time. Try to separate the slots – work when you work (and make sure everyone knows you are working) and enjoy family time when you don’t work. Be fully present in each and it will reduce the stress.