Survival Mode: How to Work from Home with Children

Do you work from home? Most of the time it’s a gift. Time spent commuting is eliminated, you can walk your dog, and if you’re a good multi-tasker, you might even sneak into your day some laundry or a freshly cooked meal.

Best of all, it’s just you and your work. No noise disruptions from the guy in the cubicle next to you, no need to dress professionally, no distracting water cooler chat… Head down, productive.

But for parents, when the kids are off school it changes everything.

On extended breaks from school, you might enroll them in a camp or two, or hire a part-time nanny. But for most of us, when our students are home from school for a day, two days, or for an extended vacation, it means serious juggling.

The Juggle is Real.

The Internet is loaded with sample schedules, time blocking suggestions, and activities to keep your kids busy. To add to those resources, I’ve talked to the Lifestyle Frisco team, all of whom work remotely and juggle multiple priorities.

As a digital media company with online tools for communicating as a team, we have the luxury of working from anywhere. But as with most jobs, it doesn’t come with childcare built-in.

If you want practical advice related to working from home with kids around? Our team’s got it.

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First, let me offer this bit of friendly advice.

I haven’t perfected this, yet, and I probably never will. I get it done, one way or another. A theme that you’ll find across most of my articles is this: give yourself grace. If you nail it one day and completely fail the next, it’s alright.

One day the kids might read books, do chores, and give you some space — and the next day they might watch three movies in a row. While some kids need more stimulation and structure than others, don’t sweat it if your schedule isn’t “Pinterest-told-me-to”-perfect.

In an article titled, “17 Strategies to Survive Working from Home with Children,” the author emphasizes that, first of all, you should be realistic. Will you be as productive during normal business hours as you might when school is in session? Probably not.

So you might want to become an early riser…

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Also, depending on the ages of your children, setting their expectations will go a long way. If you establish a schedule (a flexible one) be sure to include a break for YOU. The kids will appreciate the incentive of mom or dad being finished for a while and fully present with them.

Furthermore, our team has this practical wisdom to share:

Meaghan Dawson, Food and Restaurant Writer

I don’t consider myself an organized parent by any means, but I know that when my kids are off of school, I tend to be vigilant in my early wake time. I try to get up at least an hour or two earlier than they do (they’re older so it’s easier now than when they were little) and I work in those pockets. I also give them a set list of chores/activities they must do first each day and then give screen time accordingly once they’re done. 

Kelly Walker, Director of Client Services

You have to do a little planning before your workday starts to reduce the interruptions. I write chores on my office door so my kids know what they can do when they get bored or to earn screen time. Even very young children can do chores – organizing their sock drawer by color! I also write my meeting schedule on the door so they know when I’ll be on the phone and for how long.

Korinna Kirchhoff, Senior Contributing Writer

It’s a free for all sh*t show at my house. We take LOTS of walks. (Keeping it REAL.)

Meredith McGraw, Contributing Writer

As a Mom of younger kids, whether it’s an extended school break or a rainy day, I recommend these boredom busters that involve things already in your house. (These activities might entertain the kids long enough to get some work done.)

  • Balloons – balloon ball, balloon hunts, etc.
  • Play “wizard” and use random kitchen ingredients to make potions
  • A letter scavenger hunt around the house – look for all the objects that start with a certain letter
  • Build your own library with books you have and let siblings come “check them out.”
  • Garage Grand Prix – move the cars out and set up obstacles for toys cars

Nicole Barron, Editor-in-Chief

My best strategy for completing work when the kids are home for an extended vacation is to set their expectations regarding my availability. ‘For the next hour Mommy needs to focus on ABC and then we can XYZ together.’ And I generally try to work in blocks, one first thing in the morning, and another in the evening or after they go to bed. Whatever it takes.

What’s your strategy for surviving work-from-home with kids?

Hang in there and continue to appreciate the opportunity to earn a living, be a parent, and do it all from the comfort of your home. Our team would love to hear your practical advice for managing the work-from-home juggle.

Leave us a comment.

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