Working from home can be difficult for some people. It’s easy to get distracted and make a phone call or do the laundry instead of working. However, if you have a situation like we have now where kids are home from school every day all day, working can seem impossible. Luckily, you can learn how to work from home when the kids are home. Doing so might not be your favorite way to work, but for now, you can get done what you need to get done.
How to Work from Home When the Kids Are Home
There are several strategies you can use to try to get work done when the kids are home.
Work Early in the Morning or Late at Night
I work from home part-time, and my favorite time to get work done is early in the morning. My kids generally wake up by 6:30 a.m., so I get up at 4 a.m. and work for two hours (after allotting myself 30 minutes to wake up!). Night owls may prefer to do the reverse and work late at night. The nice part of working early for me is that there are very few distractions, so I get a lot done during that time.
Hire Your Teen
If you have a teenager at home, you may ask if the teen would be willing to watch the younger kids while you work. If you could pay the teen, that would be extra incentive, but if not, just find a way to reward your teen for helping such as treating them to a movie or letting them use the car for a special event.
Give Your Kids Your Time First
You may feel like you need to get to your work right away, but that isn’t always the best decision. Often, if you give your kids your time before you begin to work, they’re happy to let you work uninterrupted afterwards. That’s because you’ve filled them up emotionally, and then they can play on their own. If you don’t spend the time doing this, they may pester you because they want your attention.
Utilize Down Time
While you’re probably spending part of your day making sure your kids are doing their school work, there are also times of the day when they are otherwise occupied. This might be when they’re playing outdoors, on a Zoom meeting for school or tutoring, or watching TV. Use that time to do your work. I save lighter work that doesn’t require as much concentration for these times. Then it doesn’t matter as much if I get interrupted.
Trade Off With Your Spouse
If you have another adult at home, trade off watching the kids. My husband is also working from home right now, so he works his traditional 8 to 5 hours during the weekdays. I let him work and don’t interrupt him or let the kids interrupt him. Then, on the weekends, he gives me time to work and complete anything I couldn’t finish in the early mornings.
Learning how to work from home when the kids are home is definitely a learning process. However, it can be done. As you adapt to this new situation, you will likely find working from home gets easier.
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in Arizona where she dislikes the summer heat but loves the natural beauty of the area.