Many parents are having to deal with new challenges of working in their home environment as most states have imposed mandatory stay-at-home requirements. Since many states have closed all schools, parents who work from home also need to constantly monitor their children as they work. Here are some tips that can help people who feel unprepared to bring their office job into their hectic home environment.
Create a daily plan
When facing any unfamiliar challenging endeavor, it always helps to have some forethought about how to face the difficulties that lie ahead. Each day, it helps to have a schedule and a to-do list. Consider what your spouse and children are doing that day, and work your at-home office hours around the times when you will have the best opportunities to work unhindered.
Eating healthy while you work
If you’re working from home, it can be challenging to cook healthy meals. Having a plan can make this less time-consuming. Prepare some healthy meals the night before so that cooking will not interrupt your daily work routine. You could do something simple such as prepping some salad ingredients and grilling some chicken breast so that you could whip up a quick grilled chicken salad at lunch time.
Separate your business identity from your parental role
Ideally, you want to keep your parental activities and work activities separate. That way, you can focus your full attention on either of these types of tasks. One way to help accomplish this is to set up a separate room or part of the house that functions as a home office. This area could be designated as child-free, and it makes you feel like you’re at work rather than at home. Separating yourself from the rest of the home environment eliminates distractions that can trigger your parental or home-making instincts.
On the other hand, work can also impinge on family life. With a home office, you have the ability to shut the door to that room so that you can put your attention on getting things done for your kids and the family environment. At the end of the work day, make a list of what needs to be done the next day, and leave it in the home office so that you don’t have to think about work for the rest of the evening.
Kids need something to do
Kids have a lot of energy, and their minds are eager to explore and learn as they grow. If you try to work while they’re around, they will constantly need attention unless they are absorbed in a task of their own. Some ways to keep them occupied is to make sure they have some interesting toys to play with or a favorite movie to watch. You could also get them started on an arts or crafts project that will allow you an hour or more of time to get some work done. If you have to watch your kids while you work, you could set up a kids’ corner in your home office that provides fun or interesting activities for them to do while you work.
Plan for child interruptions
Small children are unpredictable. They can burst out crying or squeal loudly for a variety of reasons. These outbursts can be detrimental if you’re on an important call with a client or with your boss. One solution is to be ready to hit the mute button when a child begins to become loud and unruly. If you have an older kid, you can explain to them that you can’t be disturbed at certain times, and you could use a visual aid such as tying a ribbon on the home-office door when it’s quiet time. With small toddlers, the only solution sometimes is to reschedule a meeting to be sure of not having interruptions.
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help
Trying to juggle work and parenting is overwhelming at times. Either one of these tasks alone is challenging, but combining the two can become too much to handle. If you have an infant, you will need someone to take care of him or her when you’re immersed in your work. Some work-at-home parents form groups that enable them to help each other out. You could also work out a schedule with your spouse or relatives to help each other with various tasks. With effective scheduling and planning, a group of people can be much more effective than one person.