4 Tips for Work from Home Parents
There are numerous tips out there for those of us who work from home. While they are very helpful and well-meaning, it can initially be even more of a challenge if you’re a work from home parent.
If your children are in school all day or grown, this isn’t as much of a challenge, but it can be tough on your motivation and productivity if you have small children that you’re caring for all day. With a few simple steps and a good hold on boundaries, you can complete your work while keeping a healthy, happy household.
If you know that you’ll often be on the phone or interacting with clients in your work from home job, it may be easier to find childcare for your kid(s). Whether you hire a babysitter or arrange for grandma to keep the kids each afternoon, this will free up your time and space for a quiet call.
If possible, make this a routine to keep the kids and yourself on a positive, productive schedule. If your job is more flexible, you may be able to keep your kids most of the time, save for a very important monthly meeting, for example. You’ll know which child care options work best for you, your family, and your career demands as you move forward.
Set the Rules
Especially when you have smaller children, setting boundaries and rules for the day is so important. Of course, if you plan to care for the kids alone while working from home, you’ll be interacting with them often during the day. While this is normal in this type of career setup, you’ll still need to let kids know when you need quiet time or you’re expecting an important call.
Boundaries and rules are also crucial with pets. They may not be able to understand your words, but you can establish routines that will encourage them to rest, be as quiet as possible, and allow you to work without a lot of noise or chaos. When the whole family is on board with what’s needed for you to get your job done, things move much more smoothly. Voice your needs and concerns up front, establish a family routine, and stick to it as much as you can.
Leave the House
Leaving the house can be a good idea for you and your kids. If you’re feeling distracted or things have become crazy in the household, get out for an hour or two and mix up the environment. We all have off days, and when you have a flexible work from home job, you’re more likely able to get out when you need to.
If your kids are in the care of a babysitter or family member, getting out can still help your motivation and productivity as well. Use your child-free time to complete more work and take any calls that may require complete quiet.
Allow for the issues and distractions to pop up! Try as you might, there will still be days when the kids are sick or the dogs are barking uncontrollably on a conference call. We’re all human and these things do happen! If you’re able to get in a good groove early on, those little hiccups won’t make as much of an impact on your overall productivity. If you have an off day, simply complete more work in the evening or plan out the rest of your week to include a few more hours. When we’re parents, it’s a delicate balance between routine and the unpredictable. Do your best to go with what comes up and plan as you see fit.
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