Learning how to juggle working from home with kids, toddlers, pre-schoolers, or teens is a new reality for many parents. Setting boundaries is important so that you can focus on your work responsibilities and your new role as a full-time teacher. Publicist and Founder of Empower Public Relations, Jennifer Uy has worked from home for many years, and like many parents, has learned to adjust her routine quickly.
She shares her tips on working from home with two kids (a five-year-old and a seven-year-old) and why you should create a schedule that includes self-care.
Productivity Hacks: Tips for Working from Home with Kids
1. Start early, before the kids wake up.
Set your alarm, forget about hitting the snooze button, and get right into it.
“What works for me is waking up extra early before the kids get up to send out emails, respond to emails, check my calendar, and set my to-do list. Before or during breakfast, my husband and I go through our schedules, so we know when one has to take a call, the other has to take over,” she says.
Burnout is a real thing. Set a start and end time for tasks, and take time to eat, so you nourish your body with fuel to function. Carve out time for breaks and do what makes you happy.
“For me, squeezing in a workout is vital. It not only gives me a break to unplug and reset, but it gives me the energy to get through the rest of the day. Now that the kids are home, we all go on a 2-mile family walk in the afternoon to get fresh air.”
2. Create a schedule and establish a routine.
Jennifer started using the COVID-19 schedule provided by teachers, which includes a morning walk, creative time, and afternoon fresh air.
“It’s a good mix of education and fun. We did a scavenger hunt a few days ago, and the kids loved it!
Finding balance in times of uncertainty can be a challenge. Use a schedule to establish a routine to stay disciplined and in control.
“Having a structure keeps us sane– there is no guessing what’s next — and it gives us a chance to be creative together. This doesn’t mean we always follow it to a tee though… that’s where communication is important. Give the kids the game plan, so you’re all on the same page.”
3. Give yourself grace and cut yourself some slack.
Staying productive while working from home is no easy task, and working at home with the kids around can be tough!
“I have a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old, so I can’t just let them loose. I have to take the time to explain the lesson to them and then sit there and guide them. Thankfully my kids have amazing teachers who have been providing me with resources and helpful links like Khan Academy, Scholastic, and Generation Genius, practically every day.”
Take things day by day and adapt to new methods that work for your family. If you feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Give yourself a break.
“I’ve learned that some emails can wait so I can actually look at my kids when they’re asking me a question. Being present is important to me.”
4. Self-Care is important. Add it to the Schedule.
Life as we know it is changing, and we’re all trying to figure it out the best way we can. While you’re learning how to stay productive while you work from home with kids, don’t neglect self-care. Listen to your body and take time out for yourself.
“It took me a while to find balance,” she learned when she first started working from home several years ago. “I was plugged in 24/7, bulldozing through the day, pulling out my hair, and not being present when I should be. I would get sick more often, and that was my body telling me to slow down,” she says.
“For me, self-care is working out and going on walks. Getting fresh air immediately puts me in a better mood and keeps me focused and thankful for the time I have with my kids. I’ve also made it a priority to think about all the things I am grateful for before starting my day. I wear my MantraBand bracelet that says “She Believed She Could So She Did” as a daily reminder that I have the strength to do this. Oh ya, wine and bubble baths help too!”
How do you explain what’s going on right now to your children?
“My kids are bummed that they won’t be able to see their friends for a while. However, they understand what’s going on and why we have to stay home. Just today, we watched an easy-to-understand educational video about germs, viruses, and the importance of washing your hands and using hand sanitizer. I also try to remind them that during scary, uncertain times, it is important to look for the helpers.”
Productivity Resources for Working from Home with Toddlers and Children
Planoly – Batch your social media content to save time. Social Media Scheduling apps make it easier to post your content on Instagram, so you can focus on family time instead of trying to figure out what to post next.
Get comfortable; it’s going to be awhile. Has anyone else adopted a yoga pants and comfy top uniform? My favorite go-to brand for comfort and style is dk active. The Australian made activewear is sustainably and ethically made.
Whether you plan to check emails or take your calls from the couch or bed, stay cozy with PediPocket, an extra-long plush fleece blanket.
Caffeine – Some of us need more than water and a cold shower to wake us up in the morning. Caffeine is the key to get us through the day! No need to leave the house, not even for drive-through. Award-winning Mostra Coffee now has instant coffee that you can enjoy hot or iced.
Stay Positive. Things are constantly changing, and it’s stressful. How about a little reminder that you got this? MantraBand has a wide selection of inspiring messages stamped on their chic bracelets, rings, and necklaces. With sayings like “Stay Strong,” “Mind Over Matter,” and “This Too Shall Pass, “ you’ll remember to breathe and continue to tackle the day.
Everyone is adjusting to a new reality; creating a routine will help you set expectations so you can stay productive while working from home with toddlers or children of any age. Whether it be catching up on a show, calling a friend or organizing your workspace, carve out time to do the things you enjoy to do.
For small businesses who are struggling, use this time to be creative and think outside of the box. “It is during times like these that people will remember YOU, not necessarily the products you are trying to pitch. It’s important to stay visible and connected,” she says.
Say hi to Jennifer at empowerpublicrelations.com.
If you have any tips or ideas you’d like to share, send us a message, and we’ll add it to the list!