Working from home with kids is a challenge many moms are suddenly facing right now. It’s hard, but it’s definitely doable! Here are eleven tips for working from home with kids to help you figure out how to manage motherhood and work, written by a mama who’s worked from home for almost seven years.
I’ve been working from home with kids around ever since I started my blog almost seven years ago. I started when I had a five-month-old baby, worked through having another baby (18-months apart from my first), and then worked through having a third baby two-and-a-half years later.
It’s hard finding time to sit down at my computer and work when I’ve got three young kids who need a lot of attention and care. But it’s something I’ve had to figure out in order to help support our family.
With schools closing for who knows how long, I know a lot of working moms are suddenly finding themselves having to manage working from home while taking care of their kids. No matter how old your kids are, this can be a struggle.
I wanted to share some of my tips for working from home with kids for all those mamas who are feeling overwhelmed with everything that’s going on right now. Hopefully some of what I’ve learned can help ease this weird, difficult situation we’re all in right now!
Tips for Working from Home with Kids
Accept that you’re going to be busy
The life of a work-at-home mom is a busy one. You have to be efficient about your time if you’re going to get everything done. Downtime you usually use for watching TV might need to be used for work, and that’s okay. This is a weird, new thing we’re trying to figure out, and routines are going to be interrupted for a while.
Sit at the table and work while your kids color or do school work
Depending on your workload and profession, you may have to fit in work whenever you can. Sometimes that means working with your kids around you while they do something quiet, and the dining table is a great place to gather and work together!
Schedule when you’re going to work
If you have a set time scheduled to work, it’s easier to follow through and enjoy the rest of your day. Schedule a few hours after lunch to get work in, or a few hours in the morning while kids play. Scheduling the time you’re going to work helps you feel more committed and makes it easier to actually work when the time comes.
Work when your kids are sleeping
If you’re a morning person, get some work done before the kids are up. If you’re more of a night owl, stay up after the kids are in bed and work. And if your kids still nap, work during nap time! I don’t wake up early or stay up late unless I have a lot of work to catch up on, and I usually only stay up at night because I am not a morning person, but if this will work for you, take advantage of it!
Set up a work space
If you don’t have a home office, set up a designated space for work. A space where you don’t have to clean up all you’re working on every time you take a break, where you can have some privacy and focus on your work instead of what the kids are watching on TV. We’ve used one of our bedrooms as an office for the last few years and it’s made a big difference in my productivity.
Remember this won’t be forever
This is just a temporary situation. No one can say how long it will last, but it’s going to get better one day. Kids will go back to school, parents will go back to work. Do what you have to to make it work.
Remember you aren’t alone
Nothing like this has ever happened in our lifetimes, so we’re all feeling the same way. We’re all just trying to do our best to make things as normal as possible for our kids while keeping them and us safe and still doing our jobs, whether that be full-time mommin’ or working from home for the first time. It sucks a little bit, but we’re all going through this together, and there are lots of other mamas you can reach out to who can relate.
Utilize quiet time
Quiet time is still a struggle for me with my oldest, but we’re working on it! Set a timer for quiet time when you work so kids can see how much time they have left, and then check in on them a few times. Quiet time doesn’t have to be super elaborate or full of pre-planned, themed activities. It can be as simple as doing some mazes, word searches, or color-by-numbers, playing a puzzle game, doing an actual puzzle, reading, or building a town with LEGOs. If you have younger ones, I’ve also put together some great ideas for quiet time with toddlers.
Give yourself grace
It’s okay if your kids watch a lot of TV so you can get your work done and support your family. It’s okay if everyone stays in their pajamas all day and you have cereal for dinner. You’re doing what you have to right now, and nobody can tell you the right way or the wrong way to get through this. Be patient with yourself, and if you have a rough day, the good news is that you can try again tomorrow! You’ve got this!
Set up a rewards system
When your kids are good at playing on their own (especially during quiet time), reward them. It can be something as simple as an extra snack or an extra episode of their favorite TV show. You can come up with a different rewards system for each kid, or stick with the same thing. I’m all about bribes and sometimes there’s no way I can have time to work without them.
Put on a movie and lock the door when you have calls to make
Remember that video that circulated a while ago of the guy on TV who was working from home and his kids burst in during an interview? Don’t be that guy! If you have conference calls or video calls or team calls, put a movie on for your kids and then make sure there’s a locked door in between you and your kids. That way you won’t have any interruptions.
This last week has been the weirdest week of my life. Regular things are so completely different, and it’s been hard for me to adjust. Fortunately, my kids are adjusting to being home just fine! They’re so resilient!
If you’re among the many moms who are now working from home instead of in an office, I hope these tips will be helpful. Working from home with kids can be a challenge, but it’s one that you can absolutely overcome. Figure out what works for you and cling to that. Stay positive, look for the good, and don’t falter. You’re awesome, amazing, and you’re going to get through this!
Christine Bell says
These are fantastic tips! It can be such a challenge getting into a new working routine, especially given the crazy circumstances. I’m just taking it a day at a time.
Chelsea Johnson says
I think you have to take it one day at a time! Good luck, Christine!