5 Work From Home Tips for Parents
Working remotely can be very stressful if you’re a parent. Whether it be toddlers or teenagers, taking care of kids can take a good chunk of your time; time that is supposed to be reserved for your actual job. Although stress will be always there, you can always limit it. These days where parents working from home during COVID are the norm, here are some tips to help you if you’re a parent yourself:
1. Assess your household
Before implementing strict rules which may do more harm than good, assess first the situation of your household. By having a clear assessment of your home, you can create a better plan which benefits everyone most especially yourself and your children. Working from home with family members in your sights most of the time shouldn’t have to stress you out tremendously.
To help you with the assessment, identify the number of people living in your home as well as the number of visitors you usually have. You should also list down everyone’s schedule, such as you and your spouse’s work schedule, and your children’s school time, among others. Once you have all this information in hand, then you can start creating your plan. Having incomplete information will only confuse you in the long run which results in a more compromised work life balance.
2. Set realistic goals
While making an assessment, you can also set goals along the way. Layout what goals you want to achieve while spending most of your days at home. The goals you set should be realistic and won’t affect your children in a negative way. When setting goals, you can also seek help from your children especially if they’re old enough to speak and understand your situation at the moment.
Your goals will mostly revolve around managing the time you have with your work and the time you have to meet the needs of your kids. Don’t set goals that you think you’ll have a hard time accomplishing, for example cooking lunch during your work shift when you know you’re already very busy finishing tasks for your full-time or side hustle remote job. This will only set you up for disappointment and will also strain your relationship with your children.
3. Maintain a regular family schedule
Making your kids understand the importance of your work isn’t enough especially if they’re still very young. They will have a hard time comprehending the full extent of your job which may result in unnecessary scolding. The best way to solve this problem is to maintain a regular schedule with them, whether it be playtime or mealtime, among others.
Creating a regular schedule shouldn’t be a problem if your kids are attending online classes or other co-curricular activities. You can easily adjust your schedule to theirs and you can maximize weekends since most classes follow a Monday to Friday schedule. But if they are on a break or aren’t old enough to attend classes, create a schedule ahead of time and inform them that you won’t be available at certain times during the day. For toddlers and infants, identify the activities that will keep your kids calm and use these activities as often as possible. You can also ask help from other people in the household or from your neighbors to look after the kids in the meantime.
4. Prepare activity stations
Preparing activity stations is a fast and efficient way to attend to the needs of your kids even if you’re super busy at work. These stations are helpful if the child needs immediate attention (e.g. diaper change, feeding time, injury treatment, etc.). You won’t have to go from room to room trying to collect all the items you need, wasting precious time and delaying your work even further. Despite having a packed schedule, working parents still need to be responsible and setting up a child care station is one step to becoming one.
When it comes to the items that need to be added to the activity station, essentials relating to your child’s health and nutrition as well as toys should be the utmost priority. Place all of these items in an accessible area, preferably an area near your workstation or home office. A simple desk or cabinet can act as the activity station, just make sure that it’s clean and orderly at all times. If you have pets at home, keep them away from the station as much as possible.
5. Ask help from relatives or friends
As previously mentioned, you can always ask for help from relatives or friends if you’re neglecting your kids while working many hours. This doesn’t mean that you’ll quit being a parent, just a time off to help you recharge and focus on your work for the time being. With the popularity of video conference platforms, it’s easier now to monitor anyone, including your children wherever they go. Just ensure to seek assistance from people you really trust as you don’t want to leave your children to someone who doesn’t have a sense of responsibility.
Avoid leaving your kids to relatives or friends on short notice as they may also be busy with their own activities. They may also have their own kids to attend to. With this, plan out the nanny services a few days or few weeks ahead of time so that everyone will be fully prepared, most especially your children. You don’t want to leave them in the dark, leaving them with other people even with people they are already acquainted with. Children, no matter what their age, should be with their parents 90% of the time. Although nannies are helpful in most cases, they can never substitute what parents do on a regular basis.
Remote workers who are also parents at the same time have their work cut out for them. But it’s not all stress as there are ways to solve this dilemma. The faster you are able to adjust to being a full-time remote worker and parent, the better you are able to multitask things. And once you are able to multitask more efficiently, you may even want to consider building a long-term remote career, becoming successful in your remote jobs while also taking care of your kids until they finish their education.