It can be tough to work at home, especially with your kids in the same space. Before, you didn’t have to worry about how to keep your kids busy during the day or when they would take breaks. All you had to do was drop your kid off at their care provider or school and they would take care of the rest. Now, your care provider may not be available and it’s up to you to juggle the responsibilities of child care and your job. Your kids, especially the younger ones, need attention and care constantly. Plus, you are faced with new distractions in your new workspace, such as the noise of your kids playing or watching tv in the background. But try not to panic! We talked with our team and found that it’s very important to develop a routine when you and your kids will be in the same space. When creating the schedule for yourself, it should be similar to the one you had when going to the office. Similarly, your child’s home routine should be similar to their childcare centre or school schedule. Doing so can help maintain good habits. Below are some tips that can help you create a schedule for yourself and your child at home.
The Start of Your Work Day
- Wake up at the same time you normally would have if you were going into work. Similarly, wake your child up at the same time they would have if they were going to their childcare centre or school.
- Get dressed and have breakfast as if you were going to work. Your child should also get dressed and eat breakfast around the same time.
During the Work Day
- Understand that it can get noisy with your kids at home, so be prepared to work through this noise
- If you have younger children that you want to keep an eye on, gather the key activities that they enjoy and will keep them busy. Specifically, try to find activities that your child can play with on their own. Also make sure you are in a big enough space for you to work and have your child do these activities. Having a clustered space can be uncomfortable to work and play in.
- If you have older children, they can usually take care of themselves. Make sure to check in on them from time to time and ensure they aren’t staring at a screen the whole day.
- Plan out activities for your child to do. If they are spending longer on a particular activity, don’t stop them. Let them continue to be engaged so that you don’t break their flow of imagination and concentration.
- Use naptime or quiet time to your advantage. Designate important meetings or tasks to do during this time as you will be able to purely focus on that work. Even if your child doesn’t nap, this would be the time for them to do quiet tasks, like read a book or watch a movie.
- Try to have lunch at the same time you normally would in the workplace. At the same time, provide lunch for your child.
- Try not to sit at your workspace the whole day. You should make an effort to get up and walk around once every half hour to hour. Even if you just need a glass of water, getting up and moving around can help your blood circulation.
- Designate some time with your child to exercise or get some fresh air. This can reduce the stress you may be feeling as well as make sure you and your child aren’t couped up in the house the whole day.
End of the Work Day
- Try to take your work breaks at the same time as you would at work. Similarly, end your workday at the same time so that you and your child know when you will start the evening routine. You need to make sure you have a good work-home balance, so working all day is not something you should aim for.
You may not get it right the first time, or the second time. As you try out your routine, make changes to the aspects that don’t work. Try not to make too many drastic changes at once if you need to. This can cause more disruption in your life so gradually introduce these changes into your routine. If you are still struggling with coming up with a general routine, try asking your colleagues or doing a simple google search. You will be surprised at the number of parents who are in the same boat.