Are you trying to work from home with a baby or toddler?
It can be possible to be productive with small children in the house!
You just need a game-plan!
Working from home with a baby or toddler can be incredibly rewarding. You get to spend time together each day that you would not be able to if you worked in an office or if your little one went to school. It gives you extra time to bond together and helps you be part of all their milestones, big and small.
However, working from home with a baby or toddler can also be really tough. It feels like they need your constant attention, and it is nearly impossible to give them your undivided attention when you have work to focus on. Not only does this prevent you from working as much as you would like, but you also begin to feel guilty that you are giving your child the attention they deserve.
To help you work from home successfully with your child, here are some helpful tips on how to balance it all, and how to stay sane in the process!
Make An Effort To Get Ready In The Morning
Working from home allows you to be comfortable while you work, but you still need to get yourself ready in the morning. Putting a little bit of effort into your mornings to get dressed and feel like you are heading to work will help you be more productive. This doesn’t mean you have to get completely dolled up and put on makeup and do your hair, but get dressed out of your pajamas and wear some comfortable clothes.
You need to act as though you are going to work in order to get into the right mindset to work, even though you are doing it from home.
Be Realistic About Your Workday
The truth is that you probably won’t be able to sit for 8 hours straight and work during the day. Your child will probably see to it that it doesn’t happen, and it is easy to get distracted by housework and other things at home.
Be realistic about how long you will be able to work each day, and how much you expect to achieve. It is better to set a lower standard and surpass this, than to set the bar too high and you end up constantly playing catch up.
You will be able to work out your own schedule or target at home after a while, and it is important to stick to this so that you feel like you are in a routine, without adding in too much stress for yourself.
Be Clever With Your Time
When working from home with a baby or toddler, you have to expect to work in bits and pieces. You will not be able to sit and work for hours on end without distraction.
You will have to stop what you are doing to get up for nap time, for lunch, for a snack, and for diaper changes. You will also more than likely have to work untraditional hours, such as after your child has gone to sleep at night, or before they wake up in the morning.
Getting used to giving up your nighttime TV or reading can be hard, but working during this time is what might allow you to stay at home with your children during the day. It really is weighing up one thing with another, and seeing which you are happy to sacrifice.
Do The Hardest Tasks First
There is usually an item on your work to-do-list that you are most reluctant to get done, and this should be the first task you tackle each day.
It is essential to start with the work that has the most immediate deadline or the most important work, and then focus on the smaller projects from there.
If it helps, you should sit down and make a to-do list each night for the next day and stick to it.
Plan Where Possible
Things pop up out of nowhere often, and while these can’t be planned for, you need to make an effort to plan for everything else. Working from home with a child is not easy, so being prepared and planning ahead can really help.
Known exactly which tasks you need to tackle and get done, so you can estimate how much time you will need to sit down and work for the day, and how much time you will have for everything else.
Once again, it is easy to plan like this by sitting down at night and writing up a to-do list for the next day.
Stick To A Routine
It is difficult to stick to a working routine when you have your child begging for a snack or to play outside with you, but you need to do it as best you can.
Having a routine for both you and your child when it comes to working can really help. It gets them to know when you are working, what they will be doing while you work, and when they can expect you to be finished.
Try to wake up at the same time each day, have breakfast, do your work, put your baby down to nap, work while they nap, and then play together when they wake. Everyone will have a different routine, and you might have a helper at home to watch the kids while you work.
Whatever your circumstances, work a routine into your day to make it easier for everyone.
Choose Toys Daily
As a work from home mom, your children will have to learn how to entertain themselves during the day. The extent of this will obviously depend on their age, and you can help them figure out how to keep entertained as well.
One way to help them keep entertained is to rotate the toys they play with. Do not give them access to all their toys throughout the day, this usually leads to them being overwhelmed and not actually playing with anything at all.
Separate their toys and only give them access to a few each day, this really will help them keep entertained for longer.
Make The Most Of Your Tools
The different tools and accessories you use to keep your child busy during the day will depend on their age, but make use of what you have.
For example, use a high chair to keep your toddler contained and entertained. Keep them close to you in the high chair and give them something to keep busy with.
Whether this is some finger foods to feed themselves, some crayons and paper, or some play dough to play with, it gives them time to play and be on their own, while still close enough to you to feel secure, and for you to keep an eye on them while they play.
Don’t Rely On Screens
It really is easy to put a movie on and hope your child will watch TV while you work. While you will definitely have to use a TV at some point during the day to keep your child entertained, don’t rely on it as their main form of entertainment.
You should also not keep the TV on during the day, especially when your child is busy with different tasks or activities. This makes them less interested in what is actually on TV, and they probably won’t be as engrossed in watching TV when you need them to.
Rather save the TV for when you need them to be distracted, such as when you have an important phone call or online meeting to attend.
Have Outside Play
It can become quite monotonous for your child to have to play indoors all day, and a small break to play outside can do wonders for them.
If your child is old enough, you could set them up outside with a few toys, and sit outside to work and watch them play.
Most children love time outdoors, and not only will it keep them entertained in a different environment while you work, but it will also keep their spirits up for the day as well.
Have A Designated Play Space
Instead of letting your toddler run around the house and you having to chase after, you should have an enclosed space for your toddler to play inside of.
Use a baby gate or a little gated enclosure close by you to keep your toddler entertained in while you work.
Keep a selection of their toys inside the enclosed space for them to play with, as well as a comfortable place such as a couch or a bed for them to rest on if they feel like it.
A pack and play works well for babies, who can’t really move around on their own yet.
Don't Stress The Mess
There is absolutely no way that you can keep your house clean as you work with your toddler playing. As hard as it will be, you have to learn to accept the mess, and save your stressing to clean up for once you have finished working.
The mess always seems worse than it actually is, and will probably only take a few minutes to clean up. Just let the mess happen, and have your toddler help to clean up at the end of the day!
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