9 tips for mums and dads working from home
Working from home with kids at your feet is no joke! They have a way of interrupting at the worst time, with the most inappropriate problems. So if you feel like you’re typing away while the house is chaotic around you, here are some tried-and-tested tips for parents working from home.
1. Be prepared with food
Avoid the all-day-kitchen-parade by packing the kids’ lunchboxes before you start your workday. Also, have an easy lunch option ready for yourself. Then, when it comes to dinner, plan a menu ahead of time. This will save you from having to make dinner decisions after a crazy day.
2. Create a routine
It doesn’t have to be super-detailed - just create some structure that will separate your day into different sections. Work-from-home mums and dads should have rock-solid work/life boundaries in place, and a kids’ routine chart can help with that.
3. Prepare the environment
Consciously organise your home with creating independence in mind. Take some time to make sure that everyone has what they need on hand, and that your kids can get themselves water, toys and snacks without your help.
4. Control the mess
When you’re working, don’t feel like you need to let your kids do messy activities that you won’t have time to clean up. Consider putting away toy sets with a million pieces or banning certain activities on your workdays. They might not like it, but they’ll live.
5. Bring in remote back-up
You’re not the only one who can work remotely from home! Ask grandparents or other family members to call in (on video or otherwise) to listen to the kids read, tell stories or just hang out.
6. Use screens strategically
Know what times of the day you’ll NEED the kids to be entertained, and when you can handle things getting a bit hectic. Bring out the screens accordingly.
7. Be willing to pivot
Planning is great, but you also need to know when something isn’t working for you. Be prepared to rip up the schedule, get take-out or move a deadline that’s not serving you. There are pros and cons of working from home, and one massive bonus is the amount of control you have. Use it to your advantage!
8. Lower your standards
Sometimes, something’s got to give. When you hit that point, be gentle with yourself and your kids. Tomorrow is a new day, cereal is a perfectly fine dinner option, and midday movie marathons can be the things memories are made of.
When you feel your stress levels peaking (like just before a meeting or when you have to referee another argument), take a moment to breathe. Try out a few mindful deep breathing techniques to bring yourself back in the direction of ‘calm’.
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Reviewed by healthylife Advisory Board July 2021.