It might be an understatement to say focusing on work while caring for children or pets is a challenge. You’re not alone. Worldwide, billions of us are coming together to do it.
While the work-at-home-with-kids juggling act is only temporary, it’s still more than we expected. Until school resumes, implementing a few new tactics could relieve some of the pressure.
How to survive WFH with kids and pets: 6 tips might make it easy
These tips from fellow parents (of human and fur-children) can help you adjust and find some balance:
1. Stick to a schedule.
- Set a schedule and stick to it. This is easier said than done.
- We know kids (and pets) thrive on routine. So, try to plan out your day for meals, work, school, play, naptime, etc., to create structure.
- When you have a plan, you and your kids’ day will run smoother. Check out these family-friendly work-at-home sample schedules for inspiration.
2. Prep the night before.
- This is different than scheduling. The night before your workday, make a habit of planning ahead of time.
- Ideas include meal prep, bottle prep, laying out clothes, making small ready-to-grab snacks for kids and treats for pets, and reviewing homeschool lesson plans.
- Ask older kids to pitch in by picking and prepping a make-ahead breakfast they’ll enjoy eating, like a copycat McDonald’s yogurt parfait or frozen French toast sticks.
3. Get up a little earlier.
- To address any urgent needs, it helps to wake up earlier than you normally would when working from home. Likewise, have your child up, dressed, fed, and at their workstation as close to their normal school day schedule as possible.
- Write out and review the daily agenda with your child. When they have tasks they can work on independently, it’ll benefit your productivity. Mastering this combo may require a longer workday, but your kids won’t forget your support.
- Do your best and give yourself plenty of grace. Try a trending celebrity story time video to capture a restless kiddo’s attention. If time runs short, focus on math and reading over other subjects.
4. Take shifts.
- This one’s for couples who are both working from home with a newborn. Try to take advantage of the 3 to 4 hours of uninterrupted productivity when the baby sleeps.
- When the baby’s awake, trade shifts. During that time, one parent is on “baby duty,” while the other is working. Swap accordingly.
- While on baby duty, bring a tablet or phone to stay in the loop with your emails until your “shift” is over. Bouncers and playpens are vital if you need to direct your attention away for a short time.
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5. Set boundaries.
- We all love our kids and pets. But when you’re working from home, setting boundaries is important, no matter how hard it is to do it.
- Let your kids know you’re working and can’t be bothered during certain hours. This also goes for your significant other.
- Sync calendars for meetings and deadlines with your partner or other family members so you can all shift schedules if needed.
6. Make time for play.
- Take some time during a break to play with your kids or pets. All work and no play can put pressure on any family.
- Start a puzzle with your kids you can come back to. Play catch, draw with sidewalk chalk, or do something else you enjoy together.
- Planned playtime keeps your mind energized but focused. Even if it’s just a quick walk outside, you’ll be likely to get more done when you log back in.
Social distancing, redefined: We’re still virtually connected
First, a big thanks for doing your part to keep your family, your coworkers, and your community safe. Every one of us is making a difference. Second, remember that help, support, and comfort are only a call or an email away. We know isolation can be tough. Our hearts are with you, and our team is here for whatever you need.
For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.
Sources deemed reliable but not guaranteed.