Survival tips for working from home with your kids

By Robert Half on 20th March 2020

As it becomes more and more common for people to work from home, you may have found yourself doing just that recently — and with your kids hanging around. We’ve all seen the video of the dad doing a national media interview from his home when his toddler barges through the door. So how can you maintain productivity and a clear mind with multiple daily distractions?

Webinar: Working families

For over 2-months now, working parents have been contending with professional life and employment whilst juggling child-care, home-schooling and the daily demands involved in keeping families safe, healthy, entertained and on good terms. All this, within the confines of the same place, with the same people, every day.

Katy Tanner, Leadership Development Director at Robert Half and mother of three shares insights on:

  • Balancing work and family
  • The personal change curve
  • Letting go of perfection
  • Tips for working families
  • Meeting the needs of your children

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Choose a designated workspace – preferably an office, desk, or the dining room table. This sets the expectation that when you’re in that space, you are off-limits to interruptions.
     
  2. Create a daily itinerary so that kids know what’s ahead, and you create a sense of routine. Set times for lunch, breaks, and quitting time and consider a reward if they behave, like offering to take them to the park when work is over.
     
  3. You need to focus on your work, so you’ll have to find ways to help your children entertain themselves. Puzzles, games, books are great and only allow screen time when you need to. If they’re old enough, task them with outdoor activities like walking the dog. Do what you can to help them avoid boredom which can lead to more interruptions.
     
  4. Remember that kids are kids. They will get bored, frustrated and break the rules from time to time, but try to maintain patience and a level head. When quiet is crucial, explain the importance of the obligation, and what warrants an interruption and what consequences they may face if an interruption proves unnecessary.
     
  5. Invest in and enlist help. The last thing you want is for your work to suffer. Consider a nanny or a babysitter who can keep an eye on things and get kids to appointments and activities.

Working from home with your children can work and hopefully it’s not a permanent arrangement. Prioritise creating a plan, designating a personal space and setting boundaries and you’ll set yourself up for success!

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