Work From Home Schedule With Kids
Life as many of us formerly knew it has been turned upside down over the past few months.
Trying to balance work time and family time while socially distancing seems impossible, especially if you never worked from home with kids before. Working parents who once had the option of dropping their children off at school and daycare centers are now trying to adjust to working from home with kids…and it's a rough adjustment.
As a stay at home parent turned work at home mom, I understand the numerous challenges of working from home when you have kids. Having to juggle the daily schedules for work, home, and school can easily lead to work burnout, stress, anxiety, and more!
After years of being a work at home mom, I've come to realize that unfortunately, there is no work life balance. There is no perfect balance, no perfect schedule, no perfect routine you can implement to make it all magically come together.
Balancing work and life is more like trying to hit a moving target. You just have to show up everyday, assess your priorities for that day, and do your best to try and hit your target.
Whether you are working from home part time or full time, there are a few practical tips you can implement in an effort to hit your goals and be more productive while working from home with kids.
Creating a schedule and routine (with some built-in flexibility) is a great strategy to get started.
How to Create a Work From Home Schedule with Kids
Shockingly, I'm not really a schedule person. Although I like order and being on time for things, I don't like having a rigid schedule that I have to follow meticulously.
Instead, I create schedules with some built-in flexibility. When you are working from home with kids, things change day to day. Having a little flexible can help to keep things from becoming overly stressful.
Below is a sample schedule for work at home moms. I've been using this schedule since the beginning of the school year. Just to put things in context, I have two 4th-graders who are enrolled in a virtual school and home with me each day.
Sometimes schedules work wonderfully and other times life or school or work throws you a curve ball and not even a schedule can save you!
But having this kind of loose routine has helped to make our lives a little less chaotic. Here's how it goes:
Wake up, get dressed, and make sure kids are up.
Cook breakfast and most importantly brew a pot of COFFEE.
Virtual school begins for kids. I use this time for emails, content planning, blog post writing, etc. I'm also available to help my kids with questions and tech issues.
Lunch/Recess (Go outside with kids, play board games, watch educational documentary, etc.) Since my husband is working from home but on live calls most of the day, he tries to join us during this time.)
Virtual school resumes. I take care of a few household chores (dishes, laundry, etc.)
School day ends! Kids immediately grab their tablets to take full advantage of their Roblox screen time since we don't allow them during school hours.
This is when I take live phone calls and conference calls, watch training videos, continue any writing that I paused earlier in the day, and get in a little exercise.
Family dinner. Sometimes we eat together…sometimes we don't!
Work on social media, record tutorials, hop on a video call, and complete other business tasks, etc.
Hang out with kiddos again. Try to get them to watch a movie with me, play board games, etc.
Kids shower, brush teeth, and prep for bed.
Bedtime for kids (yep, this is a late bedtime for some parents, but it works for us)
Binge watch tv, have some wine, hangout with my hubby, and relax!
3 Practical Tips for Working from Home With Kids
Here are a few simple, but practical ideas you can implement to help create a better work from home experience.
Have Better Communication with Your Team Members
If you are working from home as a member of a larger team, you should communicate your needs and set the expectations based on your situation.
Consider having a private conversation with your boss and/or team members. Let them know that you are working from home with children and that while you absolutely plan to do your best with your work responsibilities, there maybe times when you will be unavailable for a video call or a conference call.
With that said, plan for interruptions. Be prepared to mute or turn off your camera. Try arranging your workspace in such a way that your computer camera is facing a wall. This way, if a kid comes running through the door unannounced, you have time to react before your child makes a superstar appearance on camera 🙂
It's better to be open and honest with your communication. Companies understand that working parents have a lot going on right now. If you're struggling, communicate that. Maybe a team member or your boss can help you problem-solve and relieve some stress.
Have a Plan to Keep Your Kids Entertained
With my kids enrolled in virtual school, their morning and early afternoon school schedule has some built-in breaks. To keep them from running around the house like little mad men during this downtime, I have a few go-to activities that they can do with or without me.
- Read a book or listen to an audiobook on Epic Books or try Scribd.
- Take fun class on Outschool.com. My kids just took a Roblox drawing class the other day and loved it!
- Build a contraption out of Legos (car, boat, plane, etc.)
- Schedule outdoor playtime with another neighborhood family (maybe even take turns entertaining each other's children once per week for an hour or so).
- Watch an educational show on Netflix. My kids love to watch the Who Was Show and the Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show.
These are just a few ideas that work for us. The point is that having a go-to activity plan in mind can really help.
Plan Breaks and Downtime for Yourself
As a working mom, you must learn how to make time for yourself.
While creating a schedule is great for organizing the many tasks you are juggling, if you don't plan breaks for your own mental health it will almost certainly lead to burnout.
Related: Best cures for burnout
Maybe you can create built-in coffee breaks for yourself throughout the workday. This way you have set times to step away, drink a hot cup of coffee, and just breathe.
Maybe another one of your family members can help provide some relief once per week for just a few hours. Some of my mom friends have hired neighborhood babysitters (who are also doing virtual school) to provide some relief 1-2 days per week after they are done with their own classes.
You have to get a little creative and make sure that you don't get burnt out in the process of trying to keep everything and everyone else running.
Creating a work-from-home schedule is something I highly recommend to keep the chaos in check. Remember, there's no perfect balance between work and life. Just do your best to implement a system that works for your family while understanding that you will likely have to adjust that system repeatedly.
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