A Guide to Working at Home with Kids




Working from home with your children home too is possible. I won't sugar coat it though. It is hard to find a balance and each day will present it's own challenges. But I have been homeschooling and running two businesses from home for years. This guide will provide you some practical solutions and tips to help you manage the chaos.

Getting Started

Determine your priorities and essentials - Think about getting back to basics and the bare minimum you would need to accomplish in order to feel like you got a handle on the day.


  • What is the basic work that is required of me? Skip the nice to have and future projects, what are your daily tasks or immediate project that absolutely have to get done?
  • What is the very basic school work that the kids need to accomplish? Are you required to actually submit work? 
  • What meals do we need prepped? This is where a meal plan is handy
  • What is the basic housework that needs to be done so we can function?

Once you have the very basic list down, you can begin to make a layout, schedule or rhythm to your day or week. You need to keep in mind that working from home will look very different from doing your regular work day in your house. Home is where the family is and they will also need your attention. You day will be broken up, so anything that you can group together into blocks of time will help you to feel more organized.

The Plan

Now that you know what needs to happen we can determine when it will happen. Again this will require you to be flexible. It may not be your strength, but with a plan in mind you will feel more confident going into your day.

NOTE: A schedule and rhythm are not the same thing. A schedule has times attached to it which can be both helpful and stressful. If you have to work between certain hours than you'll need to keep those times in mind. A rhythm on the other hand is more of a general flow to your day. You know what should happen in order but you aren't strictly tied to the timing.


Firstly figure out when your family eats
Then add in any required times you need to work or be somewhere
Next work around those anchors and add in all your other essentials

Here are two sample rhythms that our family has used. I set my work schedule around periods when I know the kids will be occupied:

Option 1
Wake
Breakfast
Morning walk or movement 9dance party, yoga etc)
Snack
Activity or the day or academics
Free play inside or outside
Lunch
Rest/nap or quiet time
Snack
Free Play
Dinner
Evening

Option 2
Wake
Breakfast
Movement 
Snack
School/activity and chores
Screens (fun)
Lunch
Quiet Time
Snack
Free play/outside
Chores
Screens (academic)
Dinner
Evening routine


When are you actually going to get your work done?

  • You could try to get up early before your children wake
  • You could work in the evenings after they have gone to bed
  • Quiet time or naps are also another good block of time to use
  • Take turns with another adult in the house. Each could block off set times to work or care for the kids
  • Block time for older siblings to play with little ones (be flexible here as they may need your help)


Setting up a place to work

  • Make a safe place for all
  • Set up a safe space or play yard near your work area for little ones
  • Work outside while the kids play
  • Wear little ones
  • Offer up some office supplies so your child can play office while you work
  • Make a sign on the door when you really do not want to be disturbed or you are in a meeting

Meals

Food is key when it comes to families and children. Those anchor points in our day not only sustain us (no one likes to be HANGRY!) but they also bring us together for a time of connection. Our children want to connect with us as much as possible, they only want you, have you noticed that? So make the most of meals and snacks to check in with your kids, give them a hug and fill their buckets.

In our family we have breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. In order to go to the grocery store less often I plan out our dinners for the week.

Another tip is to involve your kids in meal planing and preparation. Each of our children is in charge of dinner one night a week. This way they look forward to their favourite foods, and they are learning valuable life skills like cooking and planing.

Education

What we are going through is not the same as homeschooling, is is crisis schooling. I encourage you not to try and recreate a whole school day or school environment at home. In fact if your children are home from school they will likely need some time to decompress and get used to this new normal. That is called deschooling. Focus your time on activities that bring connection such as reding together, baking, playing board games, getting outside, imaginative play. They will still be learning a lot, but also helping your whole family to bond better.

If your family feels that academics are a priority, then by all means slowly work that in. But keep in mind that most school work can be completed in 1-2 hours depending on their grade. 

You could feed into your children's interests and passions. Get to know your child and what they want to learn about. Say yes to projects, documentaries and online resources that go along with topics they like. You can incorporate almost every subject that way. Pinterest has lots of wonderful ideas!

Make use of the many wonderful resources being offered during this time online. Teachers are organizing materials for students, major companies and even actors are producing and offering activities online. Think of this as a buffet and only choose what works for your family. If you need further resources let me know. You could also join a Facebook or LinkedIn group specifically for COVID homeschooling.

Workbooks and worksheets are an easy open and go option as well. You may find that your children are a bit more resistant to anything that looks like "school". Remember two things. They may not be used to you being in a teacher type role in their lives, and they are going through a lot right now too. They have big feelings that need attending to. 

Finally the point of education is learning how to learn. Your whole family's mental healthy is most important. Work on big feelings and emotion coaching. Model self care and how to handle stress. These will help your children to succeed far more that forcing them to complete one more worksheet before bed.

Practical Suggestions to keep kids occupied

  • Audio stories and podcasts are great to keep kids occupied
  • Sensory play seems to keep kids attention longer (water table, play dough, kinetic sand)
  • Screens or other technology
  • Have snack trays available
  • Make sure you spend time with your children first before working so their needs have been met


You will need to loosen up your expectation and standards a little while working from home. There is lots of support available. Remember too that I am here if you need me. As a homeschooling and parenting coach I work with parents guiding them from overwhelmed to confidence and peace.



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