Tips for working from home with the kids at home

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is very likely that schools will close and we will have our kids home for some time. Some of us are lucky enough to already be working from home so the impact isn’t as significant, others will able to work from home to look after their kids and there will be others who will be in a challenging position as their work isn’t something they can do from home. 

I have been working from home for the last 10 + years. My work has varied in the number of hours I work a week and where I would find the hours in the day to work. But I have learned that working productively from home with kids around can be very challenging. 

Working from home with younger kids

The younger the kids are the more challenging it is. When the kids are prep age, preschoolers or younger, you have to be realistic about what you can achieve with them awake and around. Here are some strategies that worked for me when I still had little ones at home:

  • Use the early morning hours – get up well before the kids are up (at least an hour), have a big drink of water and get straight to work. It is amazing what you can achieve in an hour when you know the clock is ticking before the house erupts into the morning activity buzz. This can be hard if you are not used to working in the early hours, but to get through periods like this, it might just have to be something you have to adjust to for a short time.
  • Use screen time wisely – work out what time of the day you will need to be interrupted as little as possible eg conference call, report deadline etc and keep screen time for then.
  • Early dinner time – aim to eat dinner at a reasonable early time so if you have a partner, you can be ready to tag them as soon as they walk in the door and you can secure another hour or two of work time where you will be interrupted as little as possible. Plan this with your partner if they are still going to work and even leave the house and work in the library / cafe if you need to in order to prevent the kids from coming to you.

Tips for working from home with the kids home from school

These next tips apply to those with school age kids:

  • Have an effective to do list – create this the day before. When you finish up your work for the day, write up the key work and home activities you will need to achieve next day. You want to be able to get started on your key activities as soon as you can. Having a well organised and prioritised to do list prevents procrastination and allows you to move from one activity to the other without losing time. You can see my to do list process here.
  • Have a plan for the day for primary school kids – as they are not actually on holidays, work with what the school has sent out and what you know will work for your child/ren in terms of structure for the day. Include indoor and outdoor time and use screen time sessions strategically for when you need them to be quiet.
  • Stick to your normal routine as much as possible – if you are an early morning exerciser or meditator for example, still get up and do that at the same time as you would if you had to leave for work. It can be tempting to sleep in because you are working from home, but you are going to have many more interruptions to your day than normal, so you want to be able to have some buffer in it.
  • Make the lunches the night before – keep your normal processes for school lunches, making them the night before. This means you can then have a lunch break with the kids and spend time with them, not making them something to eat. It also means they have snacks easily available without having to bother you for them. You can see my school lunch box process here.
  • Set expectations with the kids on noise and mess – everyone is different but personally I can work with noise, but find it difficult to work when I am surrounded by mess. Set up what your expectations are with the kids about how loud and how messy they can be.
  • Set additional household tasks – discuss with the kids that at times like this, it requires everyone to work together. Give extra tasks to kids that will help decrease your work load. Primary school kids can easily peel and cut up veggies for dinner, sweep floors and fold washing.
  • Stay active – go for a walk around the block or jump on the trampoline with the kids for morning and afternoon tea. Everyone will be better off for some fresh air and some physical activity.

Do you have kids at home with you at the moment? How are you managing work and looking after the kids?

Last chance to enrol in Planned + Present

Registrations for Planned + Present are about to close and here are three key reasons why now is the time to do Planned + Present!

1. Now is the best time to build a solid, organised foundation for home life
With so many things in a state of flux with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to have the basics under control. If you have sorted out the basics like having your evening meals planned, having kids organised to help around the house, have established good habits so you are well fed and rested, then you are much better placed to cope with the curve balls life throws your way.

2. Now is the time to start saving money
The course you will save money within weeks through efficiencies of menu planning, by having lunches prepared for you and the kids, reduced late fees and taking advantage of specials for key purchases.

3. Now is the time to spend more time with the kids
In my annual surveys over the years, a stand out theme in the results has been that mums want to spend more time having fun and relaxing with their kids. Planned + Present focuses on getting organised at home so it frees up more time that you can spend with the kids. And it teaches you strategies on how you can make it part of your routine so it actually happens and the time just doesn’t disappear.

Planned + Present has been instrumental in helping hundreds of mums find more time, eliminate stress, save money and enjoy quality time with their kids.

You can register for Planned + Present here and registrations close Tuesday 17th March – so get in quick!

I know the course can help you and you can feel fully confident in your purchase of the course, as I offer a 30 day no questions asked refund policy. If you have been thinking about signing up for P+P now is the time to do it – click here to read testimonials and register!

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  1. Pingback: What to Do, Read & Watch While in Self Isolation or Lockdown - Style & Shenanigans

  2. Hi Nicole, your book & blog helped me get organised 4 years ago when I returned to full time work with primary school aged kids. So I’ve turned back here for some wisdom now on how to get through these challenges. These articles are really great. Thanks R

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  3. Pingback: Using planning to help keep family harmony as you stay at home for COVID-19 | Planning With Kids

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