If you haven’t yet seen my IGTV on 7 Tips for Working at Home with Kids, I wanted to list them out here too.
1. Have a Kid Friendly Setup.
Most of the time, I work in my bedroom, either on my bed or at my desk, and I have a space setup in my bedroom for my kids to hang out, play Playstation, or just be near me. This doesn’t mean the Playstation babysits my kids while I work, but since the majority of the time I am able to work around noise, it allows them to be near me and do their thing so they can feel connected. My son is my velcro child, and I get a lot more done during the day if he can be near me versus me trying to keep him in a different room while I’m working.
2. Get Dressed
Getting dressed instead of working in my pajamas not only signals to me that I am showing up for my work, it signals to my kids that I am working. Taking a little time to invest in my appearance shows them that I value what I’m doing and that I am putting my best face forward.
3. Set & Reset Expectations
I am consistent about letting my kids know what is on my plate that day and what that means for them. If I’m going to be editing something, I need to focus and I need them to be quiet, but they can still be near me. If I’m on a conference call, they know how long the call is expected to last and that they need to stay quiet and out of site. As it gets closer to the time of the call, I remind them that it is coming up and what the expectations are.
4. Easy Food
My kids have been making their own meals for a couple of years now, and part of the reason why they can do that is because we buy food that is easy for them to make. My daughter likes to make protein smoothies, and she has frozen berries, bananas, almond milk, and protein powder she can use for those. She also likes pasta, and even though she can cook regular pasta, I get the 60 Second Barilla Pasta for while I’m working, because it doesn’t require stove time. She does us the stove to make eggs, but I’m more comfortable with frying eggs versus pots of boiling water. We also have plenty of fruit, sandwich options, cheeses with a kid friendly cheese slicer, and things like Clif Bars and nuts. This translates to much more time that they are able to be self sufficient without me having to cook things for them multiple times a day or even having to set aside work to make sandwiches and small things.
5. Get Buy In
My kids understand that what I do from home makes money that contributes to our household. Sometimes when we’ve had a long day of meetings or calls and they’ve had to be really quiet and good, I’ll reward them with a little treat. This helps reinforce to them that their behavior matters and that it affects what I do.
6. Meaningful Breaks
When you set expectations and you have buy in, another way to reinforce that is by taking meaningful breaks. If I need the house to be quiet for a conference call, I try to make time for a meaningful break afterwards. This isn’t time where I bring my phone and continue to work, this is time where I focus on what my kids need or just spend a little time checking in with them, seeing what they’ve been doing, and engaging with them in meaningful ways. This allows them to trust me that when I say I need quiet for 30 minutes and will take a break with them afterwards, to know that they will have my attention soon and makes it easier for them to be patient.
7. Outside Support
I couldn’t do this without the support of my friends and family. Being able to take a mental break at the end of the day when my husband or parents come home is huge. If you don’t have family support, is there a friend you can trade off with or maybe get your kids together for a video call? Having someone else pour into their lives for a bit of time helps not only you, but it helps them feel that they have other support people in their world.
I hope you found some ideas that can help you! This is just how I’ve been doing things with kids and what works for us. I’d love to hear your ideas if you have them!