Basic pointers on how to juggle working from home while parenting your children. Flexibility is key.

Most people started working from home with kids during the pandemic and set up a home office of some sort.

I’ve worked from home for many years, and most of the time it’s been with kids at home. If you’re in self-isolation, here are my tips on how to navigate working from home.

1. Create a zone for work

If your home is limited in space, the dining room table or kitchen bench may be the only option. But don’t write off other rooms in the home which can give you privacy.

I have two work zones in my house. An open office where I do my blogging and family admin. I also have a corner desk in our master bedroom for my night job.

You can set up a home office anywhere so long as you have ventilation, good light, a desk/bench, power, internet connection and of course, a computer.

Don’t write off the butler’s pantry or a storage room if you need to carve out a designated space for the long haul. These out-of-the-way areas can minimise disruption to your home as well as give you privacy as you work.

2. Don’t put high expectations on productivity when kids are home

It is really difficult working with kids at home. They don’t understand when they’re little that you need space and quiet to work. Often, devices can only offer a short reprieve. There will always be interruptions for food requests, and kids can’t just fend for themselves by themselves. It often results in fights, which make it difficult to work anyway.

I’ve found spending time with the kids first with an activity (here are 70 kids’ activities to check out) gives them ‘parent time’. I keep the device time for when I need to make important phone calls or quiet to concentrate.

Over the last few years, the times I work have changed. I’ve needed to adapt to new seasons of family life. I would (and still do) work night shifts when Jacob is home and complete writing work during the day when the kids are at school/kindy/daycare.

Now the girls are older, they will be easier to keep busy. I’m going to be juggling a bit… but with dedicated night shifts and fluctuations with writing work, I know I will manage.

3. Keep to a semi-flexible schedule

In part with starting the day with a kid’s activity, I would then schedule an hour or so of device time straight after so I can get one major item off my checklist done during my workday. I can concentrate better in the morning so ‘I eat the frog first’ and then attend to emails or admin in the afternoon.

Often early mornings work best for getting a major item ticked off the to-do list. It depends on what type of work you do, and if you work better in the morning than afternoon.

In my open office, it’s easy to set up toys or an activity to entertain one kid that likes to be near me. A roll of paper on the floor with some pens has been a saviour many a time. Use the back of wrapping paper if need be.

Social media can be a rabbit hole and you can lose unproductive hours. If you need to schedule posts, do it via your phone while you watch a movie with the kids. I have started to schedule during school pick-up in the afternoons while in the car. When the kids are home though, I will need to change my tactic.

Keeping a semi-flexible schedule allows kids to have a familiar routine too, but it’s not rigid enough if something needs immediate attention.

4. Teamwork makes the dream work

Jacob and I have to work as a team. There are days when I need to be somewhere for work or start an earlier shift, and he needs to pick up the kids and work from home.

We also both work in essential services which didn’t shut down during COVID-19.

When I start work at night, Jacob is walking through the door to serve dinner and do the bath and bed routine. It can feel like we’re ships in the night. But it works for us and we have to put in extra effort to spend time together.

5. Look after your health

Often when you’re pressed for time, you will forgo breaks like lunch. Or you will develop bad habits like hunching or sneaking a chocolate bar for a snack.

Schedule breaks for yourself. Eat lunch with the kids, so you don’t forget to have lunch and eat an unhealthy snack.

Check that you have your monitor at eye level, and you have the right chair and desk height. Keep any receipts for work equipment so you can be reimbursed from work or claim it on tax.

You may not be able to book a massage, but my Shakti mat helps relieve tension in my shoulders and neck. I use this at night before I go to bed, and it helps with muscle tension.

What tips can you add for working from home with kids?


Originally published at The Plumbette. Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels.

Published On: March 3rd, 20220 CommentsTags: , , , ,

About the Author: Rebecca Senyard

Rebecca Senyard is a plumber by day and stylist by night, but these days she changes more nappies than washers. She is a happily married mum to three young daughters whom she styles on a regular basis. Rebecca is not only an award-winning plumber, she also writes an award-winning blog called The Plumbette, where she shares her life experiences as a plumber and mother. Rebecca also blogs at Styled by Bec, believing a girl can be both practical and stylish.

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