Working from home with kids in the house? Here are 3 tips to help you balance working from home and taking care of your kids.
When you’re trying to balance a career and childcare, remote working can be a gift, but it can also be a headache. If you want to find harmony in the household, you’ll need to separate kids and careers, babies and balance sheets, or risk having your building blocks collapse - here are some tips for getting started.
Getting your head around timings is the first and most important step towards achieving a work/childcare balance. It might not feel like it but, between naps, nursery, and screen time (if that’s allowed), you might find you have enough hours available for a full day’s work. To explore this possibility, try monitoring a full day using a time tracking app. This will allow you to mark out exactly when & the amount of time required to cook, clean, and play, as well as any available free time.
Once you have an idea of how much and when you have time, you can go about developing an adaptable schedule. There are many ways to do this but ideally, you want to use drag & drop software that is easy and efficient to use. The right application will have built-in alert systems to let you know when to switch tasks, wake up the baby, or down tools. If your employer is accommodating of this setup, you might be even able to convene with them so they can access the schedule and see when you’re available for contact.
Another useful tip is to allocate space, creating a clear divide between areas for work and areas for childcare. This isn’t just to minimize distractions or interference during work calls, it’s also to help you move from one headspace to another. Ideally, you want your area of work to be clean, clutter-free and organized to ensure a positive workflow. Try to eliminate anything that could disrupt this or invoke negative thoughts.
Creating a clear divide isn’t always easy - sometimes, you need to re-arrange the household to accommodate a workspace. Well placed furniture can divide a room up into two halves or you could try taking operations into the kitchen. If you’re short on space, there are still things you can do to move from one headspace to another. A good pair of headphones can cancel out unwanted noise and allow you to focus on the screen or you could even try changing clothes - it sometimes helps to have different uniforms for different tasks. Working from home attire could entail comfortable yet stylish clothing such as leggings and jumpers over a nursing bra.
Strategies such as time management and space compartmentalization are useful but, ultimately, the best help will come from another person. If you have a partner working on site, it’s important that they assume some responsibility in the evenings. This can be a difficult but necessary conversation. If they are not living with you (for example, if they are in active service) then you may have to turn to others for help. Traditionally, relatives have filled this role and you shouldn’t feel shy about asking for help from loved ones you trust.
Sometimes the stress and pressure of childcare can have a detrimental effect on our mental health. This is common and nothing to be ashamed of. If you feel you need the input of a professional, don’t shy from talking to a licensed therapist. Often, just talking about the issue will help alleviate some of your symptoms.
Working with kids is never easy, especially when you’re doing it all in the same household. In these circumstances, burnout is a real possibility and it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Parenting With Focus helps parents train their children in the way they should. Our resources include Christian parenting video courses, parenting classes, books, tips, and advice. Learn more, at: www.parentingwithfocus.org
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