Earlier this year we had what homeschoolers have dubbed as crisis schooling. As our country shut down to stop the spread of the virus a bunch of families were forced into online schooling for the remainder of the year.
As homeschoolers and online schoolers we want to be very clear. What happened in early 2020 is called crisis schooling. There was not a well planned strategy for this type of situation so much of everything that happened was fly by the seat of our pants answers to a bad situation.
What the majority of this country experienced at the end of the last school year is not even remotely close to homeschooling or online schooling programs.
This year we are facing the possibility of schools shutting down again. Many parents are opting to go with an online program. Many parents want to be prepared in case of another shutdown that requires them to work at home with their kids.
Whatever you choose for your family, whatever situations you face, I want to help prepare you to be able to effectively work from home with kids in the house.
I’ve only ever worked from home with a kid in the house. Fact is both my husband and I work from home and have for the past 2 years. It’s not easy. Outside of the ability to wear pajamas all day every day working from home is still, work.
Add Structure To Your Day
The first thing you want to do is add as much structure to your day as possible. Wake up at the same time, do the same morning routine, start work at the same time, etc. Try to stick to a normal daily schedule as much as possible.
Structure doesn’t just help you – it helps your kids too. Structure helps to build useful habits that you and your kid will need to rely on to stay on track with your work and their schooling.
Use A Chart For Your Kids
Charts are a great tool in helping your kid to remember and build up their own daily habits. Chore charts, homework charts, earning screen time charts, are all great for helping your child do their work independently.
For younger kids use stickers to complete a chart with a smaller reward. For older kids they can earn extra gaming time, computer time, phone time, or work towards a reward with a longer length for needing to complete a chart.
Give Kids Plenty Of Activities
Part of what makes your day easier in order to complete your work is to make sure your kids have plenty of activities to do on their own. This is going to fully depend on your kid and their age range.
My five year old will spend hours building with blocks. However, when he’s 11 or 12 he might not be as interested in Legos and prefer to spend hours practicing playing the guitar or something. Find out what your kid is interested in and even passionate about, and let them explore that passion.
If you give them access to the things they are passionate about doing you are guaranteed time to complete your work. You also get the added benefit of not having fights with your kid trying to convince them to do something. They will readily practice, explore, or play with something they genuinely enjoy.
Use Lists For Your Work
Creating daily or weekly lists of things you need to accomplish is a tool that I use often to make sure I complete everything. My work is massively flexible, so I use a weekly to do list that details everything I need to accomplish that week.
I will sometimes use daily lists when I’m in the process of project planning. This makes sure that projects or products are released in my specified time frame.
List making is especially helpful if you have ADHD. This allows you to write down things that pop into your mind and then continue to focus on what you were working on. Lists are a tool I use to control my constantly wandering mind.
Get Privacy For Hard To Accomplish Tasks
If you have a task that requires your 100% attention I recommend setting up a private area to work. I personally use my master bedroom or our recording studio for that space.
I have an over the bed desk that allows me to work on my chromebook to work on writing projects or whatever I need to work on that day.
I typically only need about an hour or two of actual privacy to accomplish my work. Most of the time I can plug in headphones and turn on Pandora to get work done. Sometimes however I just need to escape my joint workspace and go complete my job for the day.
Clean Up Your Work Space
When your workspace is a mess, cluttered, or just not working for you it’s best to spend a little bit of time cleaning it up. We recently moved around our workspaces in our home to make it easier to work.
We had separate offices for a while and we actually found it was more difficult to work apart than in the same room. So we turned our living room into our joint work space, turned my old office into a recording studio for videos, and turned our dining room into our workout space.
Doing this has completely changed how we work and how much work we complete in a day. It’s nice being able to work near my husband all day long where we really work best. We can bounce ideas off each other without leaving our desks.
Give Yourself Grace
Working at home with kids can be tough at times so you need to give yourself a bit of grace. I know we don’t like the idea of sticking our kids in front of the TV, game system, or tablet, but truth be told, sometimes we need to.
Listen, we have to get work done and not all kids are the same. While my kid can go weeks without any screen time that’s not possible for all kids and families. Plenty of kids thrive with screen time.
Don’t let societal expectations make life difficult on you. Do what is best for you, your family, and what works. In the end all that really matters is that the tasks you need to accomplish get accomplished and the whole family is happy.
Remember To Eat and Stay Hydrated
I am really horrible about this because I will get so wrapped up in my work that I lose track of time and fail to eat. I try to set timers on my tasks a lot so that when a task is done I can stop for 5-10 minutes and take stock of my physical needs.
I typically do 2 cups of coffee in the morning, break my fast at about 10 am with a protein shake, and lunch at noon with a cold brew coffee. I will typically have a healthy afternoon snack too.
Food is not just fuel for your body it’s fuel for your brain to keep you performing at your best. I recommend water bottles like these to keep you hydrated all day long. I keep one filled and in the fridge while I drink from the other bottle all day to keep myself hydrated too.
Give Yourself Wind Down Time
At the end of your day you need to take some time to wind down from work. While we may not have to deal with a daily commute anymore that time was still your time to wind down from the day.
You need to create this same type of mental wind down in your daily life too. Be it you take a few minutes to sit on your porch, hide in your bathroom, or just get some alone time in your bedroom. This time will help you to end your work day so you can focus on more quality time with your family.
Working at home with kids isn’t easy but it gets easier the longer you do it. As you figure out what works for you and your family you will likely find yourself to be more productive and actually enjoy working from home.
Just remember that it will take a bit of time and testing to get your specific structure set up perfectly. Also be prepared to adjust as needed to make your time work best for you as well.
What’s the first thing you are going to do to help create structure in your work from home life? Let me know in the comments. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your work from home boards.
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