Thanks to the modern workforce, many employers allow some employees to work from home when circumstances exist, such as inclement weather, schools closed, illness and personal situations. When my children were very small, this opportunity wasn’t available to me. If I had car trouble, my kids were sick, or if I had a utility company coming to the house for a hook up, it usually meant using up sick or vacation time.
If you’re a parent, with some planning and strategy, you can make working from home with kids way more effective. Here are 5 tips to help you make it happen.
Special Toys. Is there something special that your children just love to play with, especially ones that keep them engaged for long periods of time without bothering you? Purchase them and set them aside as special toys that can be played with under special circumstances, such as when you have to work from home. Keeping them out of sight and out of reach create a reverence for them that will make them special and effective on days when you’re working from home.
Segment The Day. Create blocks of time when your children can engage with you and those in which they can’t. Young children don’t really have a sense for the passing of time, unless they can see it. Purchase a visual timer from TimeTimer.com that allows you to set a big red timer clock so your kids can see how much time is left until they can speak to you. Create a visual schedule to go along with it, that will allow them to see when they have your attention and when they can’t.
Family and Friends. Make use of those closest to you, who you trust. Barter with parents and others to come watch the kids during your busiest times, or to take them out to give you the peace and quiet you need. Return that favour to others when you can watch theirs. You’d be surprised how creative you can get when discussing bartering ideas with someone else.
Digital Entertainment. Everyone knows that putting your kids in front of a movie can keep them engaged for quite a while. But because of new evidence surrounding the impacts of technology addiction, it’s not a good idea to allow your children to become glued to the television all day. Experts have found that small increments of digital entertainment are OK and should not exceed 30 – 60 minutes at a time. With this in mind, plan TV time for your children strategically for the segments in your day that you really need complete quiet, such as conference calls or content development.
Extend Your Hours. Finally, knowing in advance that you may have to leave your computer to feed or spend time with your children, think outside of the 8 – 5 work day. Get some work time in, early in the morning before the kids wake up or even after hours when they are in bed.